The Missionary’s Mission


What is a missionary’s mission?  To share the transforming power of the gospel with people who have yet to experience it!  What better way to do that than to share how the gospel transformed my life?  It has been 28 years since the truth of the gospel and what Christ did for ME arrested my heart.  Even as a child, I realized that there was nothing I could do to save myself.  The beauty of the gospel is that the work of redemption has already been finished for us through the exchange of our sins for the robes of our Lord’s righteousness.  He took our penalty and offers us eternal life!  Today I am thankful for that wonderful exchange that happened in my young heart, and I am so thankful for the calling on my life to share the power and truth of the gospel with others wherever I meet them.  Have you experienced this wonderful exchange?  If not, I would love to introduce you to my Savior.  If so, who have you shared your exchange with today?

 

Trust


“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalm 118:8

This verse is in the middle of the Bible.  It’s kind of interesting that it’s teaching us to put our trust in God. It’s such a simple, yet crucial and difficult thing to do.  Why?   Because everything else around us fails, so why wouldn’t God?  Yet, God never fails! He and His Word are the only sure things in this world we live in. While God’s plan and our plan and are usually different from each other, His plan is always right.

And that’s pretty hard for us sometimes.  We only see partly; we see what’s in front of us or what’s happening to us.  God knows the whole picture.  He just wants us to trust Him.  And we’ll find that the more we trust Him, the more grace He’ll give us to trust Him the next time.

As humans, we’ll fail each other.  I know I certainly do.  It’s an awful feeling to know you’ve let someone down.  It’s also a bad feeling when we get let down by someone else.  Once trust gets broken people tend to have a difficult time trusting the next time.  What a comfort to know God will never ever let us down!

Now we just have to believe Him and put our faith into action.  We need to believe and trust…and keep on trusting no matter what is going on around us, even if things seem hopeless.

I Beseech You!


Romans 12:1, says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

              What is mercy? Mercy is not getting the punishment that we truly deserve. Because we have sinned, you and I deserve eternal damnation in hell; but God’s mercy keeps us from hell, while his grace has provided eternal privilege in heaven with him if we will repent and receive the sacrifice that Jesus paid for us. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22). “He hath not dealt with us after our sins… For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (Psalm 103:10, 11). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” (Titus 3:5). The Psalmist tells us that God’s mercy endures forever.

              God’s Word pleads with us to be a living sacrifice (to serve, to give, and to live this life) unto our Lord. God’s will is for us to live this life preparing to serve him for eternity. Have you presented yourself to him? If not, how about now?

 

 

Answered Prayer


Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and may find grace to help in time of need.” “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Psalm 62:5, “My soul wait thou only upon God for my expectation is from him.”  No matter what you think prayer is, it is first and foremost talking to God. So often in the Christian life we talk to everyone but God. In reality, God is the only one who can supply our every need.

I learned in a few months ago that seven of my family members were coming home from the mission field in Brazil to visit their churches that support them. They will arrive in Virginia Beach on June 9 and depart June 30. Obviously, I was excited at the prospect of seeing my sister and her family again.  They have been in Brazil for forty plus years; thus we have not spent much time together.   They asked if my husband and I would take care of their housing for a month.  There would be seven adults; this would be a major task.

My husband and I talked about it, and we decided that God is able, and we would ask Him and Him alone to provide the housing.  Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  This was our promise from God. We began to pray that God would provide this very special need.  I want to say that it is both fun and challenging when one is expecting God to answer prayer. We are told in Mark 11:24,”…when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

There were actually two families involved in it; so it would be wonderful to have at least four bedrooms.  We knew they would be willing to adjust to whatever conditions they met. But we wanted God to do this.  It was not for us to figure out. It was our delightful duty to trust him.

We shared the specific need with our pastor, Dr. James Baker, and a handful of believers telling them that we just wanted to get out of the way and let God work.  That way He would get all the glory.  When God does something, you cannot improve upon it.  In March, we ask the church to join us in prayer.

By the end of March, the Lord had provided a house through a wonderful family in our church.  I am so thankful the Lord provided.  I am also thankful for this family that was willing to give to meet this need.

Now I turn to you, dear reader.  I told the above story to give glory to God and to challenge you in your prayer life to trust Him.  There is the daily need to take it to the Lord and leave it there.  1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him for he careth for you.” There’s a prayer answering promise from God.

Meditation on Faith and Works


Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.  ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works…For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.  ~ James 2:14-18, 26

·       My purpose is to have faith in God, and my actions are to be in accordance with His commands.  The two go together: faith and works.

·       The reason for that: it is the entireness of me.

·       The reason for that: God will judge my works, what I do and say, and my secret things, what is in my heart (my faith)…whether they are in accordance with His commands or not.

·       There are at least two types of faith: one that saves and one that doesn’t.

·       Faith is nothing without works.

·       Works are nothing without faith.

·       I can believe God exists, but if it doesn’t spur me to works that are in accordance to His command, then that faith is useless; it has no profit for me.

·       Salvation is the result of faith that has works that are in accordance with God’s command.

·       The balance of faith and works will show in life.

·       My faith must be the type that causes me to take action in accordance with the design of God as He has given and continues to give through His Word, His Son, and His Spirit.

·       It is I that must choose to have faith and do works.  The choice not to do so will be evident in my life and will be judged accordingly.

Loneliness and How to Overcome It


           Loneliness is one of the most devastating maladies of this age.   Loneliness may affect all ages.  God created man to be a social creature desiring fellowship (Genesis 2:18).  Loneliness is most often a symptom of a deeper problem—failing to maintain a proper relationship with God.

          Sin severed man’s relationship with God.  “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me…” (Psa. 66:18).  “The Lord is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous.”

          God restores sinful, alienated man to Himself.  “And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled” (Col. 1:21, 22).

“For Christ hath also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit” (I Peter 3:18).

          Have you trusted Christ as your Savior?  Do you desire to follow Him as Lord?  There is a God-shaped vacuum that can be filled only by God.  God has provided Christian fellowship to be a part of the believer’s life.  If you do not want to feel lonely, know Christ personally, and then seek to enjoy the fellowship of other believers.

          You can and must have friends to help round out your life.  Man is not meant to be a hermit.  Fellowship fills a need that only God can fill in our relationship with Him and fellow believers.  We can be alone but not lonely.  If we live as God intends, we do not need to be alone.  We need to be part of a local body of believers and be busy serving our Lord.  That will fill the void that many believers have with loneliness.

   

We’ve Raised Oahu!


I recently talked with a dear friend of mine who was a Navy seaman for ten years from WW II to Korea.  We chatted about our experiences at sea, and he told me again about sailing to Oahu.  Many times he saw on the horizon the green from the vegetation on that island ere he would see the land itself. He told me several times that he viewed a mirage of “that mountain” before he could see the real thing.  I asked him if he meant Diamond Head, and he said, “Yes.”  I asked him if, like my friend Admiral Fluckey, he had seen an upside-down mirage.  He hesitated at first and then said, “Yes, like the upside-down ships that I saw as mirages in Puget Sound and Juan De Fuca” – a strait in Washington.

Because of the curvature of the earth, at first only the masts or superstructure of ships coming from beyond the horizon would be visible.  Likewise as a sailor approaches an island, it appears on the horizon first as mountaintops, then the lower elevations come into view.  For this reason a sailor would say, “We’ve raised the island!”  

As Admiral Fluckey would say, “Come go with me as we approach the Hawaiian Islands.  See the blue horizon turn green.  Then see the upside-down mirage of  ‘that mountain.’  Watch as Diamond Head comes into view above the horizon as just a peak and then much more.” 

 

WE’VE RAISED OAHU!

     by Evangelist Dan Manka

1.  So many miles our ship had plied

With constant views all blue and wide.

2.  Where once was blue there now is seen

The color of leaves of emerald green. 

3.  Below the horizon – there up ahead-

We see the image of Diamond Head. 

4.  A watery mirage is often found

Of that huge mountain, quite upside-down;

5.  And there it is, above the sea,

The top of that mountain, rising free.

6.  It grows and stands much plainer now

As Diamond Head rears up its brow.

7.  “We’ve raised Oahu!  We’re here at last!”

Heading for land we’re coming fast.

8.  Now the full shape of that mountain looms

While details nearby pop in soon. 

9.  “We’ve raised Oahu!  We’ll soon be ashore.

We won’t be plying the sea much more.”

10.  “Now, keep a watch as we head for land.”

Watchmen are ready as they take their stand.

11.  A cirrus cloud flies as a beautiful curl.

We ply toward port as we put into Pearl.

12.  And so it is from Salvation Bay,

God sends each ship out on its way.

13.  With chart and helm we ply life’s sea

With sins forgiven – from sin set free.

14.Our destination:  Heaven, some future day,

And God will guide us along life’s way.

15.  We’re alone on the sea, but Pilot’s aboard.

We sing songs of Zion with an angel chord.

16.  God gave us the chart, but He keeps the log.

He guided us through the storm, the rain, and the fog.

17.  God asked us to sail, to watch and be bold.

Though the half of Heaven has yet to be told.

18.  Off in the distance one day is seen

The color of Heaven in “new life green.”

19.  Dimly we see our heavenly goal

As we watch out for rocks, a reef, and a shoal.

20.  The Christian may see Heaven to rise

As off in the distance he scans with his eyes.

21.  God has raised Heaven!  It’s nearing you see.

He’s bringing us home – to the end of Life’s sea.    

(2-18-17)

Attached:  Here is a photograph of a mirage that I took at the Great Salt Flats west of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.  This mountain appears to be floating in the sky.  One can see blue sky under part of the mountain.

 

TBC 50th Anniversary

TBC 50th Anniversary


Consequences of Pride and Faith


Proverbs 28:25-26 elaborates about the consequences of pride and of faith.  The Hebrew parallelism in that passage is not intended to give a definition of a proud person or a definition of one who stirs up strife or a definition of one who trusts the LORD or of one who trusts himself.  Rather there is an extended explanation of the fact that trusting self instead of the LORD leads to foolish self-destruction.

Here are the verses:

He that is of a proud heart                                 stirreth up strife:

but he that putteth his trust in the LORD                        shall be made fat.

 

He that trusteth in his own heart                                    is a fool:

but whoso walketh wisely,                                 he shall be delivered.

 

When the Lord put these elements together, He revealed the following applications:

 

A person who has a proud heart stirs up strife.

A person who has a proud heart does not put his trust in the LORD.

A person who has a proud heart shall not be made fat.

A person who has a proud heart trusts in his own heart.

A person who has a proud heart is a fool.

A person who has a proud heart does not walk wisely.

A person who has a proud heart shall not be delivered.

 

A person who stirs up strife has a proud heart.

A person who stirs up strife does not put his trust in the LORD.

A person who stirs up strife shall not be made fat.

A person who stirs up strife trusts in his own heart.

A person who stirs up strife is a fool.

A person who stirs up strife does not walk wisely.

A person who stirs up strife shall not be delivered.

 

A person who puts his trust in the LORD does not have a proud heart.

A person who puts his trust in the LORD does not stir up strife.

A person who puts his trust in the LORD is not a fool.

A person who puts his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.

A person who puts his trust in the LORD does not trust in his own heart.

A person who puts his trust in the LORD walks wisely.

A person who puts his trust in the LORD shall be delivered.

 

A person who is made fat does not have a proud heart.

A person who is made fat does not stir up strife.

A person who is made fat puts his trust in the LORD.

A person who is made fat is not a fool.

A person who is made fat does not trust in his own heart.

A person who is made fat walks wisely.

A person who is made fat shall be delivered.

 

A person who trusts in his own heart has a proud heart.

A person who trusts in his own heart stirs up strife.

A person who trusts in his own heart does not put his trust in the LORD.

A person who trusts in his own heart shall not be made fat.

A person who trusts in his own heart is a fool.

A person who trusts in his own heart does not walk wisely.

A person who trusts in his own heart shall not be delivered.

 

A person who is a fool has a proud heart.

A person who is a fool stirs up strife.

A person who is a fool does not put his trust in the LORD.

A person who is a fool shall not be made fat.

A person who is a fool trusts in his own heart.

A person who is a fool does not walk wisely.

A person who is a fool shall not be delivered.

 

A person who walks wisely does not have a proud heart.

A person who walks wisely does not stir up strife.

A person who walks wisely puts his trust in the LORD.

A person who walks wisely is made fat.

A person who walks wisely is not a fool.

A person who walks wisely does not trust in his own heart.

A person who walks wisely shall be delivered.

 

A person who shall be delivered does not have a proud heart.

A person who shall be delivered does not stir up strife.

A person who shall be delivered puts his trust in the LORD.

A person who shall be delivered is made fat.

A person who shall be delivered is not a fool.

A person who shall be delivered does not trust in his own heart.

A person who shall be delivered walks wisely.

 

Trusting self instead of the LORD leads to foolish self-destruction.  Trusting the Lord leads to His blessing and protection and guidance.

 

March Madness and Shame . . .


Philippians 3:19, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”

As I write this blog post in advance of April, March Madness is still ongoing, down to the last two teams.  By the time you read it, you will know whether North Carolina or Gonzaga prevailed in the final!

I was recently pondering the nature of shame, particularly as I was reading Ed Welch’s “Shame Interrupted.” (I will put the usual statement here that his book does not agree with everything I—and my church—hold to theologically, but it is pretty awesome in its discussion of shame, which I was trying to understand.)  Using some thoughts in the book as a starting point, let me ask a couple of questions.

Would you say that all fifteen of the Sweet Sixteen teams who did *not win the championship should be ashamed?  Would you say they sinned because they did not emerge as the top team?

I hope you just answered “no.”

Yet that is one category of “shame” that is very common among people, even believers in Jesus.  We feel ashamed when we are not the best in our bracket.  We feel ashamed when we stumble and make mistakes and do not capture the championship in life.

In short, we feel ashamed because we are human and have human frailties.

That definition of shame tends to overshadow the real definition of shame.  Like the verse above shows, shame is a good gift God gives us to help bring us to repentance for our sins, for the wrong things we actually choose to do against God’s commandments and His will in our lives.

This comes more easily for me than for many other people—I see my sin so clearly, and I rejoice that God gives me the gift of shame so I will repent early rather than late.  Shame goes away after we repent because shame has then done its job.

But I have so many friends for whom shame is a constant companion.  They are the ones for whom shame has stopped being attached to their own personal sin and has started to constantly overshadow their lives.  Their shame has been replaced in its God-given role with other fake versions of shame which make fake claims of why they should be ashamed.

Some are ashamed for circumstances in their childhood that made them feel inferior to the other children around them.

Some are ashamed because they never felt love from those God intended to cherish and protect them.

Some are ashamed for sins that others did to them.

Some are ashamed, like the March Madness teams could be, merely because they are human and show weakness or don’t always win.

I urge you, my friends, if you find yourself stuck in any of the above states of fake shame for things that are not actually your personal sins, to seek God’s Word and good counsel about what shame actually is in your life and what it should do.

It is actually very freeing to get to the place where shame, when it occasionally arises, actually bids us into the presence of the Lord, to examine ourselves and see what we have done that needs repentance.

God is good to give us the good gift of appropriate shame.