Friday, March 27, 2009
Name: Dung Beetle also called tumblebugs or scarabs
Scientific Name: Phanaeus vindex MacLachlan; Onthophagus gazella Fabricius (big name for such a little fellow)
Length: 3 to 50 millimeters long
Life Span: Up to 3 years.
With geometric artistry, the dung beetles use their legs and mouth parts to fashion freshly laid dung into huge circular or pear-shaped structures and then roll them into an underground nest that has been prepared by both the male and the female. The female then lays a single egg into each ball of dung and covers the nest with more dung and soil. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will feed on the fecal matter. When the beetle has chewed through the ball of dung it is then big enough to begin it's own nest.
Now to the really interesting part.
Did you know... that Dung beetles were worshiped in ancient Egypt? It's true. Because of it's unique way of laying eggs, the beetles appeared to just "pop" into existence. One day there was a ball of dung and the next *POOF* instant beetle. Egyptians believed that the beetle gave life and they honored it in their carvings and sculptures.
Did you know... that the Chinese legends say that a giant dung beetle formed the first humans out of clay? What a heritage. To think that you were made by a beetle!
Did you know... that when the droppings of millions of cattle started ruining the land in Australia, dung beetles were imported to reduce the problem.
Did you know... that when it's mating time, a male roller uses a dung ball to attract a female. If she accepts, she helps the male roll the ball to a spot where they bury it.
Alright, now that you know more than you probably ever wanted to know about Phanaeus vindex MacLachlan; Onthophagus gazella Fabricius (say that five times fast!) it's time for our spiritual lesson.
Okay, I know that when I said that you probably re-read it to make sure you heard right, but you didn't read it wrong. We are going to have a spiritual lesson from the dung beetle.
As you know, the dung beetle spends it's entire life accumulating dung. To us it might seem utterly ridiculous that it would want to have the stuff when there are so many other things to choose from, but no. The beetle wants dung. From the time it's born until it dies the beetle rolls it's ball. Day and night, it doesn't ever leave it.
So now, how many of us have stuff? How many of us like the stuff that we have? Don't be shy, tell the truth. Would you be upset if someone was to come and take everything that you have leaving you totally helpless? I know I would. Now here's the real toughy. God says that all our righteous works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). If our righteous works are like filthy rags, what does that make our earthly possesions? I would guess that it would make them a lot like... you guessed it, dung.
Therefore, just like the beetles, we have our little balls of possessions that we roll around with us wherever we go. If we, humans, look at the dung beetles and see just how small a world they live in, what do you think that God sees us doing? God has given us so much, yet we are too involved "rolling our dung" to pay attention. I can just see myself pushing around a huge ball of all my stuff and yelling "my ball, don't touch!" to everyone who passes by. It might seem really funny (and I'll admit that the image does make me smile), but it is so true for me so much of the time. We need to leave our "dung" and follow God and the things that He has for us!
Anyway, now that we have had our "spiritual dung beetle talk", I'll let you go!
Have a wonderful day!
Monday, March 23, 2009
For the past few weeks the subject of fasting has turned up in several of the most interesting places, from the forum that I frequent to my personal Bible studies, I have not been able to escape it! So, I guess that this is God's way of telling me that it's time to write!
When a person decides to fast they need to make sure that they are doing it for the right reasons. In the Bible we see several different reasons. This brings us to the question that I would like to answer with my post; WHY FAST?
Intercession is another way of saying "prayer", but it usually entails praying for others or for specific needs. In some senses of the word it also specifies repeated and constant prayer to God (in other words, more than just a prayer shot heavenward).
2 Samuel 12:16-17
David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.
In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
2. For deliverance
We are surrounded by bondage and suffering, both spiritual and physical. God calls us as His people to pray and fast against these chains.
3. For the covering of the blood of Christ (protection)
2 Chronicles 20:2-4
Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, "A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi)." Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the LORD.
And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?"
And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from
here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. ["But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."] ["This kind" refers to the demon that possessed the boy]
With all of the schemes that the enemy throws at us and the temptations that our flesh constantly presents, we are in desperate need of the protection and covering of our Lord, both physically and spirtually.
Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions.
4. In Lamentation
This world is full of sin and despair. We (as a people) have forsaken the laws that God set forth in the beginning and we (as a people) are reaping the results. There are many things for which to lament. In the Old Testament, the prophets would fast in lamentation, but now that God has sent down His Holy Spirit among His people. We need to be sensitive if God calls us to fast in sorrow. I believe that this is a "gift" or fruit of the Holy Spirit. When God touches your life and tells you to "grieve" or lament, God puts the sorrow in your heart, and He actually mourns through you. It is kind of hard to fully grasp unless you have felt it, but it is real.
1 Samuel 15:35
Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
2 Samuel 1:12
They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan and for the people of the LORD and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the LORD and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
5. For Strength
Sometimes (a lot of times) we can get run down and tired and we need to get back into God's presence in order to receive restoration. For example, when Jesus went into the desert (Matt. 4) to be tempted, He fasted for 40 days before being tempted. I believe that this was to receive strength from God to be able to stand in the face of what He knew was to come. Satan always tries to get us when we are down. The only way to make sure that he can never make us fall is to always walk in the presence of our Lord. I know that no one is perfect and we will stumble, but through fasting and prayer we can learn to keep our eyes focused on God.
6. Seeking direction
This is one of the aspects of fasting that is emphasised the most in the Body of Christ. All of us need direction and need to be shown what to do next. Fasting is the best way we have to help us get our eyes off ourselves and onto God. To stop listening to all of the voices that our flesh hears and start listening to that still small voice that is Christ.
While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
HOW SHOULD WE FAST?
Now that we have seen many of the different reasons for fasting, it is time to look to the Bible and see how it should be gone about. If you'll notice in the preceeding verses, every time that fasting is mentioned, it is shown as an additon to prayer or even a form of prayer. Fasting without prayer is like faith without works or fire without flame. Dead.
But how, exactly, should you fast? Is fasting only depriving oneself of food? Well, if we go to the Bible we see that fasting should be much more that just that.
4"Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist
You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.
5"Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble
himself? Is it for bowing one's head like a reed
And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?
Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
6"Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
7"Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8"Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9"Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, 'Here I am '
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
11"And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
And again we see in the New Testament that Jesus shows us the way to fast.
"Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for
they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are
fasting Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
"But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting
will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father
who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Fasting is, in its purest form, a way to honor God and to get your mind off the things of this earth.
It doesn't have to be food. You can fast from books, television, video games and that's just to name a few! God wants only for your heart to be in the right place.
Once you start a fast, stick to it. I know from experience that if you don't truly set your mind to it, when the first temptation comes you'll fall. It can get very discouraging. Take heart! God gives second chances, and He is a God who loves and is patient with our inconsistencies. Set a goal and fight with all that you have to reach it! Rely on God and on His promises; He never fails!
Thank you for your time. I hope you are able to take a little something home with you! Blessings!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
This meme is something that my Mother is hosting over at The Coult Family. Go and check it out!
For my "Fun Facts" I am going to share a little bit about Dolphins and another little bit about the history of Mexico. I figured that it is only fitting since we live on the coast of Mexico!
Did you know... The killer whale is the largest dolphin (true whales don’t have teeth but sift their prey through plates of baleen). The smallest dolphin is the Hector or Maui Dolphin, of which only 150 are left today.
Did you know... The narwhal dolphin has a large ivory tusk (like a unicorn). Because of this unique feature they are often hunted. The only remaining populations are in the Greenland Sea and Baffin Bay.
Did you know...Just a tablespoon of water in a dolphin’s lung could drown it, while a human could drown if six teaspoons of water were inhaled into the lungs.
Did you know... A baby dolphin is born tail-first to prevent drowning. After the mother breaks the umbilical cord by swiftly swimming away, she must immediately return to her baby and take it to the surface to breathe.
Did you know... A female dolphin will assist in the birth of another dolphin's baby, and if it is a difficult birth, the “midwife” might help pull out the baby. Other dolphins, including bulls, will swim around the mother during birth to protect her.
Did you know... Air can be expelled from a dolphin’s blowhole at speeds topping 100 mph.
Did you know... Dolphins do not breathe automatically as humans do and will die if given a general anesthetic. They must sleep at the surface of the water with their blowholes exposed. Dolphins shut down only half of their brain while they sleep to stay alert and breathing.
Did you know... Dolphin teeth are used for grasping, not chewing. They have no jaw muscles for chewing.
Did you know... Mexico introduced chocolate, corn, and chilies to the world.
Did you know... The red poinsettia (which the Aztecs called cuetlaxochitl) originated in Mexico and is named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico (in the 1820s).
Did you know... Mexico City is built over the ruins of a great Aztec city, Tenochtitlán. Because it is built on a lake, Mexico City is sinking at a rate of 6 to 8 inches a year as pumps draw water out for the city’s growing population. [Scary thought]
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Jesus says in Matthew 18 verse 6 that whoever causes one of these little ones to stumble it would be better for him to have a millstone hung about his neck and be flung into the sea. I don't know about you, but this makes me think that God is really serious about how we act.
So, now I will leave you to peruse this. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!
CHILDREN WILL LISTEN
How do you say to your child in the night?
Nothing's all black, but then nothing's all white
How do you say it will all be all right
When you know that it might not be true?
What do you do?
Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn
To learn what to be
Careful before you say "Listen to me"
Children will listen
Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen
How can you say to a child who's in flight
"Don't slip away and I won't hold so tight"
What can you say that no matter how slight Won't be misunderstood
What do you leave to your child when you're dead?
Only whatever you put in it's head
Things that you're mother and father had said
Which were left to them too
Careful what you say
Children will listen
Careful you do it too
Children will see
And learn, oh guide them that step away
Children will glisten
Tample with what is true
And children will turn
If just to be free
Careful before you say
"Listen to me"
Children will listen .... children will listen .... children will listen!
Monday, March 9, 2009
My French class went very well. We should be getting the results of our tests in next week *sends a prayer heavenward*. I think that I did alright, but I would rather that I did "excellent" or at the very least "good". I am kind of like that!
Right now we are studying, among other things, the pronoun "y" that is used to substitute places and things. I thought that Spanish was complicated!! Why don't we all just speak one language (I know, I know, we had our chance over 4 thousand years ago and it didn't work out then either). Still, for all of my complaints I really enjoy my classes and I love the challenge they present to me!
Saturday in the evening was youth group. There was a secular concert going on in the community basketball/soccer court so not many youth showed up, but we still had a nice study with those who did. Please continue in prayer for this ministry, there is a lot of spiritual warfare going on for the lives of the youth of Boca del Rio and it will take our prayers to win.
On Sunday we went to church and received some wonderful encouragement (at least I did) from a passage in Matthew 19. The pastor shared about how we, as Christians, need to examine our motives; we need to come before God with pure motives, free from any pride or disobedience. It truly hit home for me and I think it will be awhile before I can think about it less than incessantly.
Yesterday was also my brothers' birthday (the twins). They turned 13 *shakes head in wonder*. I don't know where the years have gone! The pastor called them up after the service so that we could pray for them and to sing them the birthday song, Mexican style! We also have this song that we play in our church called "the song of the little old lady" (closest translation) at the start of which you are supposed to get up and "dance like the little old lady". It's something that we always use when we have a party at the church and, from time to time, as a birthday make-a-fool-of-yourself song. Well anyway, they played it and Seth danced like a madman while Jessee just stood there looking embarrassed. Everyone laughed and Caleb turned to me and said, looking at the twins, "sometime the fool makes the wise man look foolish!" I can't help but love Mexico, and my brothers, of course!!!
For the twins' party Mom tried her hand at making an ice cream cake, it actually turned out as a very successful experiment and I don't think that anyone refused to eat it! Other than that we pretty much just hung out and enjoyed each other's company!
As far as anything else goes I have pretty much been sticking to my "daily duties". I play my guitar a lot (trying to figure out some new strum patterns) and I am trying to be a blessing at home. I don't know exactly why, but it always seems that it is the hardest to follow God and to obey and to be self-sacrificing at home. It is such a struggle for me, but God is faithful and will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I am able! I know that this is a battle I can and must win, to God be the glory!
Now for the extraordinary! I am going to share a verse (well, a series of verses) that I love. They are in Matthew 20, starting in verse 1 and going through verse 16. [notes I have made are in red and progressions of time are in italics]
1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner [God] who went out early in the
morning to hire laborers [Christians] for his vineyard [the world].
2"When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3"And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place;
4and to those he said, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' And so they went.
5"Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing.
6"And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day long?'
7"They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.'
8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.'
9"When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius.
10"When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.
11"When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner,
12saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.' [Persecutions]
13"But he answered and said to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14'Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.
15'Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?'
16"So the last shall be first, and the first last."
I know that there are many different views that can be taken on this parable and I also know that since it was a parable Jesus left a lot for us to interpret. Yet, I would like to share a little bit of the insight I have received. I highlighted the words that I thought were important to be taken note of.
I think that this passage, among other things, is giving us encouragement. It is telling us that God doesn't judge by how much we work or how wise we are. He judges our hearts and our willingness to serve Him. Just as the landowner in this parable, God has and still is calling us to go into the world as His laborers. And it doesn't say that it will be easy. In Romans 5:3 it tells us to rejoice in suffering because suffering produces patience and a proven character.
God puts you in the place where you are for a reason, and in this world no matter where you are you are more than likely to be persecuted, whether it be by friends or co-workers or maybe even a prison cell. Just like some of the laborers in this parable some of us as Christians will have to bear the "...scorching heat of the day..." and some of us won't, but we all are sent out with a mission to complete (Matthew 28:19-20).
In verse 16 it tells us that the last shall be first and the first last. Now, I don't know what that means exactly. Still, I think that it was referring to the Jews and the Gentiles, saying that even though the Jews were called first, God was going to call the Gentiles as well. Without being sure, however, I can only give this as a view.
So, in closing, I just want to sum up what I am trying to say. Mainly, that God will reward everyone according to his due, but that God is not accountable to any man. He gives where He wills and He takes where He wills. If we are truly followers of Christ we need to trust God enough to be able to say as Job says in Job 1:21 "...The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Life isn't easy. And living for Christ really isn't easy, but it is rewarding!
Thank you all for giving me an ear! I hope that the Lord richly blesses your day! Take the time to be a blessing to others!
Monday, March 2, 2009
(It snowed right before we left making it the perfect day!)
(This is the house that we stayed at for three days before we crossed the border into Mexico. My Dad is busily packing so that we could get out of the house at 3am the next morning.)
(the border into Meixco. This is where you take care of all of your paperwork and get your visas.)(HaHaHa, This is how you move in Mexico. If you'll notice, this truck is also pulling the car behind it.)
(Unpacking and unpacking and unpacking)
(I finally got a new *coughs* wall. This time it's a tarp! You might think that I am weird to think of that as cool, but if you had seen my wall before then you would realize how nice this new one is. The old on was made of cloth and it collected dust really bad.)
- God provided the finances for us to be able to make it all the way to Oregon.
- God provided a guitar for our pastor
- God has used this trip to draw our family closer together.
- Praise to God for His mercy and the grace He gave us in our travels.
- Praise God that we were not lacking of anything throughout the entire time we were in the States.
- Praise God for all of the people that He has used to bless us. I love seeing how God moves in peoples hearts!
- Praise God that He provided the money to put a new roof on our van (the old one was rusted through).
- God allowed me to meet with serveral new friends and a great many old friends (I love you guys!!).
- God provided an air hockey table and a pool table for the youth center that we are building behind our house.
- Prayer that God would continue to work in the youth in our village.
- Prayer toward the mission teams we are planning on receiving this June. As the time gets closer things can get kind of hectic.
- Prayer toward the outreaches that we are going to be doing over spring break (semana santa).
- Prayer that God would give me direction as I decide what to do in this next year.
Blessings to you all! Have a wonderful day and a blessed week!