Friday, April 14, 2017

Tips for success!


How to calm down mental frenzy and complete tasks.
by Daniel Martin


I.                     You are in charge!

Realize that you are in control of yourself. No one else makes your decisions. You chose every choice you have in life, and no one else! Free will is a gift, and we should give it back to God; but our decisions belong to us, whether we want it or not.


II.                  Don’t feel threatened by your thoughts!

Remember, thoughts are just thoughts. They might affect our decisions, but they are not our decisions. Our subconscious like to fire out our perceptions of reality; not the reality itself. If your uncertainty seems nightmarish and you keep having fears of perceived consequences like deadlines, failed relationships, or dire consequences; keep in mind that fears are like an alarm clock, you shouldn’t keep pushing snooze, but it is only doing the job of making noise. Fears are not the reality of what is actually going on. They can serve you to draw your attention to things that need attention, but after that, don’t sweat it. You are probably blowing things out of proportion anyway.


III.                Take time to take care of yourself!

Is there a reason for your feelings of anxiety? Are you taking care of your physical needs? We all want to be more than human, but everyone has limitations. Are you adequate rest times? Are you sleeping? Are you eating enough food, and drinking enough water? Are there any other things you are putting off just to get things done? Is this time to take a short break to gather yourself and get back to it?


IV.                Keep to the plan you start.

 Don’t allow yourself to deviate from your intended goals. Go with your gut. If you started with something, you might re-evaluate its importance, but you probably where heading the right direction. Better to have one thing done, and done well; then a dozen things half finished. When passion for the thing leaves evaluate its long term importance. Keep going even if you know you should, even if the finish line is a good distance. Trust God, and trust your instincts! Most of the time the reward is worth the distance. It takes perseverance that goes long beyond fancy, to achieve anything worth having in life.


V.                   Stay Positive!

Don’t interpret setbacks and distractions as failures.  Mentally reframing setbacks in a positive vein allows you to keep your progression in forward momentum. Just think, you are learning patience in the process of long-term successes. Many times the path from point A. to point B. involves allot of twists and turns. Refraining interruptions as a part of the journey to the goal rather than failure is a key to success!


VI.                Turn mountains into mole hills!

Don’t feel overwhelmed by the size of the project, or the amount of the things you must accomplish. Everything in life you can do in life, must be taken sequentially (one step at a time). If it seems large; what would be the first step? After you have figured that out, what’s next? Keep going you’ll get there!


VII.              Remember: Thoughtfulness trumps frenzy.

(You may think, just starting something and working your very hardest is the key to success. While you need that drive and passion to accomplish your desires, or complete tasks: if you don’t think holistically about the approach, you will keep rounding the same corners and be frustrated by your attempts. Ask yourself some important questions like: How important is what I am doing? Is there a better way to do what I am doing? Is there a more efficient way to go about what I am doing? What tools will I need and what information before I start this task? If you go about with this kind of thought process, you have a better springboard for success and are less likely to burn out easy.

VIII.            Rejoice!

Take time to celebrate! Reward yourself for even a small victory! No one else may appreciate what you have accomplished, but it doesn’t matter. Take the time to celebrate! You are teaching yourself to take ownership of the process. Thank God for the victory, and take moments to bolster your accomplishments to yourself. It’s healthy! You will find joy in the little things when you take healthy pride in your victories.
(disclaimer) I am not an expert in applying all of this but am learning  the art of practicing these tips myself.  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Girls Rock pt. 2

 Girls Rock! part 2.

Girls and modesty (a symptom of a bigger issue)!

Have you ever seen a mouse trap? They are simple and interesting devices. They will not work without all of the components being available at the same time. The spring, the hammer, the board, and the holding arm are all essential.   In our next topic on girls, the devil keeps eating our cheese, before we can catch him and keep him out. The problem is that our focus of the issue is wrong; and we are missing attention to some of the other vital components.

When I was a young man I was hearing allot about girls and modesty in the church; meaning that women should not dress in a way that is sexually provocative. I went from one Christian place to another, seeing varied results in the way Christian girls dressed. At that time across the board by and large dressed in a way that was not provocative.

Into the start of the 21st century, we have seen an ever increasing loss of modesty; (mostly, in our sinful culture, and somewhat inside the people of the church as well). I have often heard from the pulpit that the current trend towards dressing more provocative is a desire for girls to be worldly, (in which some cases I suppose would be true). However, I think there is a much greater and lesser addressed reason than the simple desire to be, “loose” and accepted by your peers in our rebellious sinful culture.

 Many girls in the current generation don’t feel wanted or desired.  I think it has to do with the way women are viewed in the Church and at home. It is a symptom of Christian boys not becoming men of God!

Girls in the church often feel tempted to pursue sinful sexual relationships, because the men of the church are absent. They are there, but they are just not men! They are not leaders, or passionate, or steadfast, or individually responsible. Take the reverse of those, and you will have exactly what women don’t want in a man. Someone who is indecisive, indifferent, caves under pressure, does whatever the group wants them too. That is a general consensus of the young men in today’s church. The problem is that many guys are really trying to follow Jesus. Unfortunately as leadership; often times, they are exactly how we are teaching them to be!
 This is the first generation growing up in the states that has 40 to 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce.  This generation is the one of the first generations that has grown up with no solid home life at an alarming level in the states. Young men are in our midst looking often times for a father or a mother that has been absent.

 Currently there are two large needs facing Christian young men and all youth in the states. Discipline, and mentorship. Often times, young men come to faith and to church looking for a war to fight, a prize to win, and a purpose to strive for. All too often, they are left with allot of hype about the next sermon series to attend, and a list of rules that God will consider acceptable behavior. In some cases the only personal involvement by leadership is the handshake at the door. They find, if you go and are faithful and stick through every series about conquering your battles, and the like: you will end up learning quickly to be gentle, passive, adept in your Christianese language. You are taught from the very beginning that the hallmark of Godliness is to not question authority. 
What God desires is obvious! The reason we don’t adopt it in the church is because it’s difficult and will dramatically change how we do things. Look at how Jesus led the disciples! He was with them allot! He made himself available to answer questions and explain the scriptures. He both raised the bar for his followers, as well as had great compassion. He didn’t take responsibility for their poor choices, but was there with them every step of the way, both encouraging them, and confronting their sinfulness.

Am I saying this is all up to the pastor, and the few people in Christian leadership? Absolutely not! It might be somewhat deflating when you realize it’s not all up to you, but, helping others into leadership is the replication process God has commanded (2 timothy 2:2, Hebrews 5:12).
God hasn’t designed the program of discipleship and mentorship to be only for those who have Christian college degree either. I assure you if you think you can’t teach scripture, you don’t know who Jesus was working through to found the Church. Scripture attests that pretty much the only one of the 12 who has any degree was Paul (Philippians 3:).

 There is another curb. None of us are Jesus! None of us get the claim to be the Son of God! Have you seen how tireless Jesus was in His job of teaching and leading in the scriptures? He spent most of his time with 12 people; investing in them, and teaching them. I think if the Son of God, chooses only to take on 12 closely; think of how God chuckles when us in church leadership pretend to know groups of hundreds intimately. God isn’t impressed with our name dropping either. He made the program so if we want tips for success; we need to see what scripture has to say about it.

So far in the 21 century our “churchy culture” has produced a whole lot of hot air! It produces people, who feel like they are making a difference: who put in valiant effort and work into a whole lot of nothing! We have the crazy concept that if we just talk about the world’s problems and have the right doctrine; that will somehow create the fruitfulness God is looking for. We have created a culture that is really good at removing the feeling that God wants more from us then our Church attendance. Also, it is a culture that insists that we be faithful to the program and not deviate course; even if it is only a place to alleviate our conflicted conscience.

Young men in the current generation are taking the brunt of this problem. There is a stark contrast for them between the life they face in the assembly of Christ, and the expectations of the real world. It’s a world in which there are few Godly examples and mentors to contrast the harshness and selfishness they face at every level outside of the assembly. Is it any wonder, why there are few youth with the backbone to raise a family, and pursue Jesus with an increasing passion?

Young Christian women have another thing they contend with on a strange, subversive level: Pornography! When Christian men (any really) view pornography for gratification, it sends a big loud signal out to the women of the Church; that they won’t be wanted unless there standards are very low! Many feel that they have to show allot of skin to get any kind of attention at all. Too many regret that kind of attention, and aren’t really rationally following through, what treating yourself cheaply means in the long run.

Many Girls feel unwanted and adopt ungodly pursuit of men. They feel rejected if men turn them down after they take the first steps. It is a side-effect of spineless men. Christian men should be the first to buck this trend. We should be the ones with an actual purpose, with a drive towards, things we want to accomplish, as well as the things God wants to accomplish. That is the case of men who are sold out to Jesus; the devil is terrified, and women feel protected and desired.

Christian men, and especially leadership, need to do two things. First they need to have a place where they can be honest with other leadership and grow through there sin issues. Heck; it’s God who gave us sex, and made it fun and attractive in the first place. Sex isn’t evil, but it also certainly has its scriptural boundary (husband and wife for life). God understands that people have struggles keeping it inside of its proper place. As leadership we are called to a very high standard. We all have to realize that we aren’t perfect and if we have a place of transparency; it can only help people grow closer to God (in whom everything is transparent). The second thing is that men have to treat young women the way scripture says we should (1 Timothy 5:1b, Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity). What does like sisters, with absolute purity mean? It means that unless you are ready to commit to a girl and peruse her until marriage, you don’t show the kind of interest that would make her think otherwise. How you treat her is with the realization, that unless you make her yours, she belongs to someone else. It is important to sink this one down deep in your being. As men we should have sisters, but you wouldn’t date your sister, that would be weird. You would stand up for her and keep her from harm!

In this day and age, I have seen allot of desperate girls do allot of desperate things. We as Godly men have to have strong compassionate hearts! We need to realize that sometimes people will lower their standards, because they don’t know that they are far more valuable than they allow themselves to be treated. We have to be the strong ones as Godly men. If we don’t treat girls with Godly respect; despite how much skin they feel the need to show, this situation will never change. It’s no use speaking from the pulpit about modesty, if young men don’t give attention to young girls who put Jesus first. I can attest that I have seen some girls, (who I know love Jesus) do some really foolish stuff, just to feel wanted by a man.

Godly women shouldn’t entice men. But Godly men shouldn’t be such wimps in the purity arena. We have to develop thick skin, and self- discipline, caring about what is important to God, over and above our physical desires. That is a stark difference than our sinful culture. Godly per suite puts women in their proper place as something valued and treasured; wreaker and protected. That is what God’s heart is all about. I can assure you that if you are pursuing a lady, your compassionate self- discipline and the ability to wait until you publically commit, in spite of your internal conflict; it will send a loud signal of steadfastness, and passion that your beautiful Godly wife goes ga ga about.
Our job as Godly men is to first make up our mind. Are you ready to get married? Than find a wife that loves Jesus more than she loves you.

Allot of times guys ask the question, “How do I know when I should get married?” I think the answer would vary from person to person; but ultimately I think it has to do with character more than anything else. There are no restrictions on when given in the whole of scripture. Just the command to love your bride like Christ loved the church. That is a whole lot of commitment! It is a complete surrendering and abandonment in spite of all costs. Do that; then, keep doing that! That is God’s requirement. He is not thinking about how big your wallet is, he is thinking about how much commitment and persistence you have. If you are week on that end, that is your first priority to develop. Once you have that straightened out, get married, and do it in a way that makes her feel like she actually is in your eyes, more desired than anything else in life besides Jesus.   People sin, without a doubt. I am glad that in allot of ways the church is becoming more of a place where people have a sounding board to sort out there problems. We dare not go the other direction though; the cost is much greater! We have to take our actions seriously, if we want to satisfy God. God has a high standard when it comes to marriage and sexual relationships. It is high, because He created sex and marriage. It is also high because it is a reflection of God’s unwavering faithfulness towards us, his redeemed people.

I am human too; I think that our righteous living in spite of our physical desires, will spell something loud and clear. It will tell women exactly what they are, treasured, valued, of worth, beautiful inside and out, and useful to God. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Girls Rock pt.1

By: Daniel Martin

How we act and teach in the church effects how women approach and view God. You would think that this would be a no brainer. The truth is: if we approach a subject with thoughtfulness, and Godliness, it might show us where our personal week points stick out like a sore thumb. Nobody wants to undergo surgery. At this point I think it’s time for some needed changes that are uncomfortable; but, better for the health of the whole body of Christ.

My first and most important concern for young Christian women in general is that they are attacked on all sides with weak Biblical doctrine. One thing that I have found everywhere I have been is that there really are no lesser people. One of my pet peeves of living in Mexico, is hearing some American pastors speak to Mexican’s from the pulpit as if they are less intelligent. After living here for a short three years I have learned that Mexicans are every bit as able to understand the concepts in scripture as Americans.

I have found that some churches (like the pastors that talk down to Mexicans) approach teaching women as if they couldn’t grasp complex concepts. Being a pastors son, and being involved in ministry through the years I have heard some very weak doctrine in allot of women’s groups.  I think that a few negative generalities are almost standard from place to place.

I have found is an unfair emphasis on emotions in all women’s Bible studies. I have seen both men and women in leadership in many women’s studies use content that heavily pulls on emotional heartstrings. This isn’t always wrong, and sometimes it’s good to get really emotional! The more we connect with people’s stories, on an internal level the more we might be able to relate to the message of that story. The problem becomes having an emotional emphasis that is weak on helpful content. Is the content and meaning emphasized or the accompanied feelings? 

We have to be careful as Bible teachers to put the truth above how we feel about it. When feelings are a reward in themselves they create people who chase emotions; but can’t understand them or harness them to the benefit of having them. I have found at every turn for poor young gals; there is an ever increasing emotional tug, so that Suzy and Sally can sit and listen to the speaker and really build them up in their mind as someone who really understands. They will keep coming because they think that somehow by lots of attendance they will find some real resolve to their problems. Our job as leaders and teachers in the Church is to help guide people into Holy effectiveness for God. That includes emotions. However, when you have grown beyond how you feel about a hard situation; the last thing you need is a patronizing, “oh that’s too bad, I really feel sorry for you. Let’s all cry or laugh together.”

When you are looking for logical answers, you need them, no matter how emotionally difficult those answers are to hear! It takes a clear minded, emotionally controlled person, to produce good fruit, and overcome life’s obstacles, well perusing what is the seemingly unappealing path of sanctification. Women are emotionally wired! That is a good thing! They are different than guys when we start talking about internal struggles. Praise the Lord! I have been at enough Churches where woman are not spiritually present, and it becomes a ground for strict legalism. There is a whole different process in the way they approach information. It is our responsibility as leadership in the church to approach this appropriately. We need to connect with our audience when we speak, but the goal is not so we can make some kind of tear-filled impact. Tears, laughter, head-nods and applause do not equal holiness. We can say and do allot of stuff from the teaching forum; that will create all of those.

If we make the goal, a positively changed life that is tremendously effective for the kingdom of God, we are on the right track. It might take the wind out of our sails, because, we might not be the most popular preacher or teacher in our neck of the woods, but for Heaven’s sake, it’s not about us. Our goal as a teacher is not to make the audience dependent on us, but to teach so well, that people no longer need us, but learn to grow and teach others. That’s scriptures view on it (Hebrews 5:12).

When emotions are always amplified it gives people, (especially women who are emotionally charged) a feeling of progress without any actual change. I think this is one of the hallmarks of the modern church and Biblical study. We have attached to the idea of relevance to our sinful culture. We keep appealing to its impulsivity and short attention span. We have ended up with people who are easily manipulated if given any value system that comes in an emotional package. We as the church have taught, especially women this way. It creates easy prey for the wolf in tender, sympathetic, sheep’s clothing.

The second part of this is somewhat comical to me. It appears that a great portion of the church thinks that the only books that actually apply to women in the Bible are Ester and Ruth. Those are two stellar books of the Bible. I think that we all could benefit from reading Ester and Ruth. There are some real applications there for Gals of all ages. However, we can’t miss the fact that the Bible was written for, and is profitable for, everyone who believes (2 Timothy 3:16). That means the whole thing. If we teach women in a way that is lopsided scripturally, their focus will be wrong in their beliefs and actions. If we want them to grow into maturity we must approach them with scripture thoughtfully.

Why not find ways of applying scripture that does not directly talk to the female sex in a way that gals understand and can relate to? The truth is true, regardless of the culture or the listener. we should not change the message of the scriptures, or its intended meaning. We should be helping all people apply those things to their personal life in practical ways.

I am not a lawyer. I don’t know if I would ever be good at being a lawyer, or that I would want to be a lawyer. Does that mean that verses that refer to the law, finances and proverbs about organization won’t apply to me?  In the same way, there are allot of verses that don’t directly deal with the female kind. Does that mean that they can’t grow from a good working knowledge of those principles? I should hope not! As a matter of fact; the most effective and Godly women in the church that I know have learned how to apply as much scripture as they can, even in the harder to understand portions of scripture. 

I am of the opinion that even though everyone can’t work in the space industry; everyone can understand and apply scripture, (even the tough parts)! In short; girls need the whole Bible because God gave it to all of us. There should be no hang up there, because there is no need for one. We just need to learn to be wiser and more apt teachers. I believe in Youth! I believe that Girls are essential to the growth of God’s kingdom. Let’s help them be all they can be as leaders in the Church. Don’t forget, girls rock!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My thoughts on the Bible and Politics.

Recently I was a part of a pro- life march outside of a planned-parenthood clinic. I was vocally insulted by megaphone and told that I hated women, (Something that is not true, and that I will write a blog on later). I also had Jehovah’s witnesses come to my door recently and in the conversation mentioned that Christians shouldn’t be involved in Politics.  Too add to this I have Christian friends deeply rooted in political view points, that mention the Christian ethics of both the far right, and the far left. This blog is coming out of those experiences and is my personal view on these matters!
C.S. Lewis famously said“[The devil] always sends errors into the world in pairs--pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one.” In this case that couldn’t be any closer to the truth.
When we espouse a specific party of government we espouse the views of that party whether intentionally or unintentionally. Currently we are seemingly being hemmed into having to decide between a leader who says, “When you are as rich as I am you can grab any ones pussy you want” who also has had two ex- wives and is married to a former nude model. In every way he is outwardly a negative example of how a man should be, yet is pro-life. In the far left, we have something worse in moral representation: it purposely blurs the lines between the dignity of women, and the value of human life. One party values the unborn but has at its current head a narcissistic megalomaniac. The opposite side seemingly upholds a woman’s ability to be a voice and valued at the cost of human life its-self.  As Christians we should not be confused with either of these two groups but should have our own distinguished unified voice. Our voice is separate because our opinions are formed by scripture rather than our sinful culture.  Both the right and the left are using scripture to support the positive side of their views. Human dignity and the right to live are founded on scripture. You cannot find an adequate reason for either of these virtues outside of the Bible.
 I have recently seen my Christian friends sending messages to each other about one issue or the other from both sides of these opposite political parties.  As the church we should be a part of politics. We should be invested in the concerns of state, because if we do not, we will lose our ability to influence our culture on its Biblical basis for law and order. Let us all be careful, however, that everyone knows that the side we stand on is the Biblical side. We must speak openly about the political abuse of God’s moral scriptural mandates, regardless of the party, or the surrounding ethics.
If we (the church) do not hold up the scriptural standard for ethics in law, no one will! If no one else does, it’s also not their fault, because, it’s not their responsibility. As doctrinally sound Bible believing Christians, it is our responsibility!  We are the only true check and balance for our national moral temperature.
  We have to be more of a voice, politically, for the benefit of everyone. We must be bold enough though to stand up and stand on our own. We must be confrontational to all views that are opposed to scripture being the basis for moral law; regardless of the political party, or their stated Christian stance.
 My whole life I have heard politically the twisting of scripture for gains of self- interest and the manipulation of the populace for the sake of either political party.  If people quote the Bible as true from the office of the state, they must be held accountable by the church the same way anyone, using such texts inside the church would be held accountable. The other option would be for us to ask them not to use our text. The Bible must be taken as it was intended when it was written or it will lose its validity.
Remember Jesus in the wilderness. The Devil quoted scripture to Him to help convince Him to choose against the desires of the Father. The Devils quotations were out of context, but still God’s words none the less. People, who don’t follow Jesus, have no problem quoting Him.  Quoting the Bible lends a seeming credibility to the speaker regardless of their true worldview. Hungry wolves never come into the pen announcing that they want to gobble up the sheep! Often times in the current generation they also have an inability to understand that gobbling sheep by mangling scripture is morally wrong!
You cannot take scripture out of context, and keep the integrity of the meaning.  Our very definition of moral standards is dramatically different then scriptures intent of the same moral principles. Historically; people in power, who do not believe in the validity of the Biblical scriptures, have used our scriptures, to put in place laws and ordinances that are opposed to the values in scripture. That’s how you end up with a Nazi Germany. (Don’t think we couldn’t find the same thing in the United States, regardless of the side of the political party). If you take scripture out of context, and compromise its integrity, for the selfish interests involved in any political group, you empty the Bible of its law defining power. It has to stay as the standard for morality. If the Bible as it was intended to be taken is not the standard for morality, what people are left with are false moralities and arbitrary absolutes. To quote, my beloved Creation professor Dr. Donald Chittick , “ The only alternative to God’s words, are man’s opinions!”
We live in an age of arbitrary standards today! That is how you can stand up for the unborn and seen as someone who hates women. The Biblical rhetoric has purposely been changed, so that it can keep things that benefit politics on a monetary standard in place.  Follow the money and you will find a host of scriptures mangled in its path in either political camp. 
In short, Christians need to be a strong part of politics in the United States of America. Christians also should be careful what side they take up because of the negative attributes expressed by a particular party. It doesn’t matter if the dirt is at the top or bottom of the glass, we can’t give people dirty water to drink or they will get sick.  We are the holders of the clean water: The Bible in its meant integrity. Let us defend the values of the scriptures, regardless of who espouses which parts of them.    

Thank you and may God bless you
Daniel Martin  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Living a Missionary Life

By: Rachel Martin

My perception of missions before I actually became one was, I imagine, much like most people.  I thought that it meant that I would be living in a hut talking to half-dressed people in the jungles of Africa. We in the US have this perception of what missions is, myself included until I came to Mexico to serve full time.  What I realized here is that I was already doing missions I just never had the opportunity to devote my full time to it.

I have always, shared the gospel with people I meet, let myself be known as a Christen, given free dance classes to the poor, helped other people in need, given food to homeless, and discipled young women.  I just never had the opportunity to devote my whole life to it.  I bet if you think about it you too do many things like that as well.  Granted I am in a place where the need for free dance classes gives children a chance to do something they never even dreamed possible not just something that most people accept as a right.  Spreading the gospel is my actual job.  The poverty in this country is over 50% (people living on less than $200 a month) so there are more homeless and needy to give to.  I have a plethora of young Christian women in need of and just hoping someone will disciple them.  In Mexico the need is greater but it does not mean that I was any less of a missionary when I lived and worked in the US.

Now granted foreign missions are not for everyone. In a conversation with a friend recently we were talking about how my family has to make sacrifices to live on the mission field.  When I said I don’t feel like it’s a sacrifice she pointed out all the things that I was sacrificing in a fairly long list.  By my estimation the list was not that big of a deal but in her eyes it seemed too much.  I then pointed out all the things she had to sacrifice for her life in the US and she in turn said she felt that is was not a sacrifice either.  I think like my friend and myself that when you are in Gods will for your life, following God and serving him, whatever your mission field is, does not feel sacrificial.  It feels just like, well, life.  Whether it be working and raising kids or living in the jungles of Africa we are all put here to serve a purpose.

I have had the opportunity to see people living their lives for Christ all over the world and it is a beautiful thing.  I see people with far less than me going on missions trips to poor parts of Mexico.  I also see people with far far more doing nothing.  Can you guess who is happier?  One thing is always the same in whatever country you are in.  When I see people living a “missionary” life style they are happy.  There is a contentedness that can’t be duplicated.  Sure life is hard whoever you are and whatever situation you are in.  Life can get difficult and messy and harder than you think you can deal with.  I have heard stories in my line of work that would make you weep.  I have had a chance to really study this and look at people whose stories are bad and good closely in two different countries long term.  I can without a doubt say that the people that really have joy and contentment in their hearts are the ones that know their place in the scheme of God’s will for them.  The people that live missionaly no matter where they are at.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Good Book

By: Rachel Martin

My husband and I have been watching a set of sermons on marriage from a series called “Mingling of Souls” by Matt Chandler.  Look it up.  It’s really great.  He follows the Songs of Solomon in order to find out what it teaches us for married life.  I have found it so interesting and so applicable to us today.  It’s a book that is so often glossed over because it seems like just a set of poems to his wife.  It is so much more than that.  It got me thinking.  What else am I missing? What nuggets of truth am I missing because I have been lazy about reading the Bible? 

How often do we just go to church and spend our week not at all seeking after God and learning what he has to tell us from His book?  How many things do we miss because we are just listening to someone else’s answers all the time like spoon feed babies who just get what they are given?  It’s like being married to someone and only seeing them once a week for an hour or two.  Could you even give a good account of that person?  If you met with someone for an hour once a week for a year then maybe you could tell someone who they are.  “Well this is John my husband and he is a computer specialist and hopes to be a computer programmer after he is done at this job”.  But could you really tell someone what John is like?

It is exactly the same with Jesus.  We go to church and sit in the pews and maybe we pay attention and then go home and think very little about what we learned.  We don’t take the time to get to know the creator of our life.  The person that breathed life into us and then told us to go out and love others, spread the gospel, teach our children, be compassionate, encourage one another, to be patient, and peaceful, and prayerful. The God of the universe who’s life always was and always is.  The Christ that loved us so much He died for us.  We can’t take 5 or 10 minutes a day to try to learn a little more about Him?

Now look I know it is hard and I don’t’ always get there.  There are some weeks that are so busy I might get in 5 minutes of a sermon and church and that is about it.  But I can reflect on what I have learned, I can seek him out in prayer, I can talk about Him.  I am part of a ladies Bible Study group.    I am always interested to hear how people spend time with God.  For most of ladies I know it is a daily quiet morning cup of coffee and reading the Bible before the kids get up, or Bible journaling or a good biblical book.  I love it and it sound beautiful and I think for people that can do that, it is a perfect way to do it.  I also think that, that is what we all think we need to do.  We need to get up at the crack of dawn and quietly read our Bible.  You know what I do?  I turn on a sermon in the midst of our crazy day and listen while I cook or work or homeschool my son.  I downloaded a Bible on my phone and spend 5 minutes reading while I wait for my son to get out of school.  I ask my husband crazy questions to make us both think and see who has the answer. I set reminders on my phone when I think it’s been too long.

My point is that it does not have to look a certain way but it does need to be there.  I am also not spending every second reading my bible.  I like T.V. and mystery novels, and hiking and writing and hanging out with my friends and spending time with my husband and crazy 4 year old.  I do however also want to know what else God has shared in the Bible and learn what I can from it.  Find what else I have missed like Song of Solomon and apply it to my life.   I love the analogy I used at the beginning.  If you were married to Jesus, what could you tell people about him based on 1 hour once a week?  How can we expect that we will be able to give an account for who God is if we don’t’ know his book?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January Newsletter

First off, the Nutcracker was a huge success.  This is something that has never been done in our community and many people were pleasantly surprised by the program.  One of my favorite things was that so many different “communities” were represented at the program.  From Missionary groups to unsaved Americans to Mexican families and people from neighboring towns and everything in between.  We all came together for one night that the kids will never forget.  We had three additions to the program.  The show started with a Christmas flute duet and we added an opera singer and the reading of the Nativity story.  Then of course there was the regular program and the kids did fantastic for their first year preforming the Nutcracker.  This was a simple program but for those involved and watching, it was considered a Broadway performance. We charged 10 pesos (50¢) for the program and all the money went to the church mission trip to Sineloa in Southern Mexico in April.  After a program here it is expected that a meal be served so we had a nice little meal after and lots of conversation and fun.  We guessed about 200 in attendance for both. 

My parents were here for the week leading up to, and for a few days after the Nutcracker.  I could not have done it without their help. Archie of course loved the visit from Grandma and Grandpa and spent every waking minute with them.  They stayed next door to us and they even took him overnight one night.  For the first time since his birth we got a full night for a date and didn’t even have to get up with him in the morning.  It was amazing!  The downside was I got food poisoning at the restaurant and it has taken quite awhile to bounce back.  We also went to The Sunflower House (Archie’s Preschool) Christmas program which was a ton of fun.   My parent’s time here was too quick and we sadly had to let them go home.  They left some Christmas presents and some fun memories behind.  Dad and our pastor did talk about my dad coming back in March to help with a construction job at the church and are trying to figure out a time to make that work.

While my parents were here we followed a few leads on some long term housing.  Unfortunately the cost was just too great for everything we looked at and so we continue to rent.  Many Americans have moved into this area and so the prices for many things including housing is not much different than those of US prices.  We know renting is not best idea in the long run but God knows what his plans are for us and if He wants us to buy a home it will come available at a price we can afford. We are in no hurry but continue to be wise and keep our eyes and ears open for something that would be suitable long term.

Our dear longtime missionary friend and instrumental person in starting our intern ministry here, Kaitlyn, left for good this month.  We will miss her dearly but her latest adventure into San Francisco to work at a free pregnancy clinic will be an amazing one.  Her husband comes back from deployment in March when she will travel to Montana to live with him for good.  We hope she ends up back here in La Mision but are confident God will use her wherever she goes.  I put together a slide show of her time here that was played at Church for her going away and there were not many dry eyes in the place that afternoon.

Our Christmas “break” has been packed with many things.  Rachael Bonato came back to spend Christmas Break with us and she has been a blessing to us as always.  Also spending much time at our home this break is Morgan.  She is the newest intern at Siloe clinic and had no place to be for Christmas break.  Rachael and Morgan helped me put away and clean all the dance stuff from the Nutcracker which took two days.  We now have 25 totes lining the wall in our bedroom awaiting another future Nutcracker performance.  Also Rachael and I spent two days at the clinic helping Morgan organize the clinic and more specifically the 500+ patient charts. 

 We had Morgan and Rachael both here Christmas Eve, overnight and Christmas day when a few other interns dropped in for visits.  We love that our home, is a home away from home, for the interns and really enjoy hosting them.  Also on Christmas Eve we took a trip out to Guadalupe to Cumi Rehab (the rehab we regularly support) and brought them food and treats for Christmas. That day for their Christmas meal they had butchered a goat and were cooking it in stew over an open fire in a three sided shack (their kitchen).  It is hard to adequately describe, but it was just a really neat thing to go and visit with the guys and bring them food and see a different side of Christmas

We plan on making a trip out to Rancho Viejo (about 45 minutes up the canyon on a dirt road) to take food to a family there this week.  We got a small donation from someone last month asking us to use it for the folks at Rancho Viejo and I could not think of a better family then the one pictured in this newsletter.  Four little girls and their dad in a one room pressboard shack.  We also had an update about the older man from Rancho Viejo that I talked about in our newsletter a few months ago.  I gave him my spray bottle of hand sanitizer (vinegar, water, and tea tree oil) and told him to use it morning and night for an infection on his foot.  The infection was cleared up because of the spray and he hopefully will make it to the clinic for his other issues soon.

January will start a new schedule with our regular ministries rearranged a bit.  A little more guitar for Dan and a little less dance for me are the only changes we have planned.  In place of the few hours I am cutting back we will be working on a potential new ministry.  It is a bit soon to talk much about it but we appreciate prayer as we seek God’s will and prepare information for those involved.  As always we want nothing more then what God would have us do and wish to be wise in following Him.  We love that God has kept us flexible in our ministry so that whatever He calls us to do, we can.  Some might find it difficult be we really enjoy that aspect of our life here.  As we proceed it will be really fun to see what God has in store for us.

Prayer:  Thank you all for your continued prayer and support of us.  This month we appreciate prayer for our upcoming year and the continuation of our regular ministries.  Also as we mentioned please pray for our potential new ministry.  As always we appreciate prayer for wisdom and health.  Please pray for Archie as he goes back to school and for his teachers.  Please pray that we would be able to serve the ministries we work with well and meet their needs as we go about our ministering to the people here alongside them.

As always thank you for your support and prayer.  Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletters and keep up with us and what we are doing. We very much appreciate every one of you and covet your prayers greatly.  Know that we pray for you too. 

Many blessing in the New Year.           
The Martins

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