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!