When your students teach you


The last year and a half, I have been teaching one of the Moral and Religion class in two local schools.  This last Monday, my students taught me. Not in the sense of teaching something new, but more in the sense of reinforcing something I knew and about which I needed to deepen my understanding.

Photo Credit: Alyssa L. Miller via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Alyssa L. Miller via Compfight cc

This year in the local school, we have been studying about the Bible and about the Trinity. This has allowed for other subjects to be addressed while we studied these major doctrines. The last few classes have been about Jesus Christ. Who is HE? What did He do? What should be our response to Him?

Last Monday, we talked about being a fan of Christ or being a Disciple of Christ. A fan is out for what they can get from the object of their adoration. A disciple, however, makes a decision to follow the teachings of a particular person and dedicates their whole life to following that person. In a Christian’s case, this would be Jesus Christ.

Monday’s topic was on the cost of following Jesus Christ. With our text in Luke 14, we talked and discussed what following Christ actually means. Because I know myself the best, I sometimes use myself as an example. (NOT that I am perfect by any stretch of the imagination.) I told them of the cost for my personal following of Christ.

  • Three grandparents have passed away while I have been on the field.
  • My parents in Mozambique need a lot of help that I could supply.
  • My sister was a single parent with two babies while my brother-in-law was deployed with the US Army.
  • My best friend has dealt with a lot over the past eight years and I could only communicate by Facebook.
  • Sometimes I wish I could be split into multiple people to supply the need for each one!

I am sure if you ask any missionary or pastor who has been in ministry for any length of time, they would have similar stories.

The point of this post is not to have a pity party. The point is, at the end of listing what my personal cost has been, I said, ‘I am here because I love you and I count the cost as worth it to be here.’

Photo Credit: Max Garçia via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Max Garçia via Compfight cc

Through the class this week, I learned about myself. Yes, it is painful to be far away from family when painful things happen. Yes, the cost hurts to do what we do. BUT, the reward of seeing just one soul learn about Christ and what He did for them, is worth all of it.

My question to you is ‘Have you counted the cost and is it worth it to be where you are?’

After all I have done for You, I am ALONE!

Today I am taking a bit of a break from Proverbs 31.

While preparing for a single’s retreat at the end of the year, I came across a passage. I have heard teaching on this passage before, but had never looked at it as is applies to a single missionary. The passage in question is 1Kings 19.

God has just proven that He is God in Israel with the showdown on Mt Carmel with the prophets of Baal. In a great flash of fire, God proved that He is the living God and He is worthy of worship. After this great victory, Jezebel hears what Elijah has done and swears revenge. He runs for his life. This seems weird after just seeing the mighty hand of God at work that he would run away. Then he goes even further and says to God:

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 1 Kings 19:10

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Photo Credit: Mycul999 via Compfight cc

God tells him to stand on the Mount before the Lord. God sends a great wind, a mighty earthquake and a raging fire, but does not speak to him. Then comes the still small voice asking him:

And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 1Kings 19:13

I am reminded of God talking to Adam asking him where he was. God know where he was but wanted Adam to recognize where he was. With Elijah I see the same thing. He presents his complaint once again:

And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 1 Kings 19:14

Did you see what I did? Here is what I hear Elijah saying, I have done so much for you and now I am all alone. Not only that but they want to kill me.

The charge of being all alone is one I hear a lot from single missionaries. We do so much and have no one to share the burden. But I like what God said next:

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 1 Kings 19:18

God is saying, you think you are the only one who is faithful to me but I have so many others who have not sold out or compromised. He then sends Elijah to find a partner in ministry, Elisha.

This last summer, I was feeling the same way. All of my coworkers are families. I felt alone because I was not a part of a couple or family. Then I attended a retreat for single missionaries. I saw first-hand that I was not the only one. Many of the ladies present worked with couples or worked entirely alone. It was good to see that others had the same problems I did and the same feelings of aloneness. Now when I think of being alone among many couples, I remember, other are doing the same and the Lord is with us all.

God has picked out our places of service. He knows that we are lonely and discouraged at times. We need to remember what He said to Elijah, You are not the only one. There are others who are doing My work. Get back in the fight and I will send the help you need at the right time.

And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 1 Kings 19:15-18

The Virtuous Woman – The Trustworthy Woman

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. Proverbs 31:11

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Photo Credit: charamelody via Compfight cc

This is the next verse in the Proverbs 31 Chapter we are studying. This verse is obviously written about a married woman, so what can I as a single woman glean from it? Well first I see a word or two that need defining. The first word is trust:

TRUST, v.t. To place confidence in; to rely on. We cannot trust those who have deceived us.

He that trusts every one without reserve, will at last be deceived.

1. To believe; to credit.

Trust me, you look well.

2. To commit to the care of, in confidence. Trust your Maker with yourself and all your concerns.

3. To venture confidently.

Fool”d by thee, to trust thee from my side.

4. To give credit to; to sell to upon credit, or in confidence of future payment. The merchants and manufacturers trust their customers annually with goods to the value of millions.

It is happier to be sometimes cheated, than not to trust.

If we look at this definition, we find that a woman of virtue is trustworthy. For a married woman, it means that what her husband had entrusted to her (namely his heart, reputation, life and future) are safe in her care. Since trust is a two way street this also means she trusts him to care for what she had entrusted to him. Next we look at the word spoil.

SPOIL, n. [L.]

1. That which is taken from others by violence; particularly in war, the plunder taken from an enemy; pillage; booty.

2. That which is gained by strength or effort.

Each science and each art his spoil.

3. That which is taken from another without license.

Gentle gales fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole their balmy spoils.

4. The act or practice of plundering; robbery; waste.

The man that hath not music in himself, nor is not movd with concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treason, stratagems and spoils.

5. Corruption; cause of corruption.

Villainous company hath been the spoil of me.

6. The slough or cast skin of a serpent or other animal.

From the definitions of these two words, the verse becomes clearer. Because he can trust his wife in all things, he does not need the riches that spoil brings. A virtuous wife will protect her husband’s interests, whether that be business or personal. She will be always on the lookout for his best.

OK, but what about me? What can I get from this verse?

A married, virtuous woman did not become trustworthy overnight. Trust is an earned commodity. It is given when trust given has been returned with fidelity.

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Photo Credit: birgerking via Compfight cc

As a single woman, I need to cultivate the characteristic of trustworthiness or faithfulness. It is one of many virtues that a Christian should exhibit. We are to be trustworthy in the trust that Christ had given us to reach others with His Word. If we look at the verse in the light of Christ the husband of the church, He has given into our keeping His Name, His Reputation, His Life and His Future. His Name is our name now, His Reputation rests on our trustworthiness, His Life is an eternal gift, and His Future is the King of Kings. We have been given the task of spreading His Name and Reputation. What a sacred trust! Are we practicing trustworthiness? Are we as women of virtue developing the faithfulness that will result in Our Savior´s trust?


Lemonade from Lemons

First, let me apologize for not writing last week. Life interfered and I was away from my computer.

Now on to today’s topic. Many of you have probably heard the phrase, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This summer life is giving me a lemon and I am trying to make lemonade from it.

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Photo Credit: Creature Comforts via Compfight cc

The lemon isn’t particularly sour but it is sour enough to be a hassle. You see the country I live in changed the law on visa application for visas over two years. Before the change, I could go to a testing place, take a test that proves that I can speak, read and write in Portuguese, and qualify for a five year visa. After the change, I now have to take a 150 hour course in basic Portuguese. So basic in fact that we started with the alphabet.

This course is conducted in a city half an hour away from where I live. It is 4 hours long and is almost every day of the week. This means I lose time I could have spent on my master’s degree, translation, or any other project I have going for the church. That is the lemon.

Now to make lemonade. The class is full of people from all over the world that I would not have met any other way. (We have at least two or three other languages going besides Portuguese in every class.) Because I speak Portuguese already, I am able to help the other students. If nothing else, I will get a couple pairs of hand knitted socks out of the process. (I am so glad the teacher allowed me to knit in class. It makes the time go by so much faster.) By taking this course I will be able to get a five year visa. This will save me money, time and hassle in the long run. A lot more lemonade comes from that one lemon.

When I was growing up my mother always said, ‘Life is not fair.’ As an adult, I completely agree with her. Life is not fair. However, I know also that the Heavenly Father is in control of everything. He knew that law would change and I would have to take this class. He knew that it would be a hassle for me to attend. He also knew who would be in the class with me. God sometimes puts us in situations ‘For such a time as this.’ Like Esther being chosen queen so she could save her people. Like Rome conquering Israel so prophecy could be fulfilled and Jesus Christ could die on a cross. Like putting me in a class to be a light.

Though my lemon is not particularly sour, maybe your lemon is. It may need a lot of sugar to make a palatable lemonade. Or maybe God is teaching you to like sour things and preparing you for something in your future. Whatever your situation, please remember God is in control and He placed you where you are on purpose. He not only placed you there on purpose, but He walks beside you all the way.

If this has helped you, let me know how God is using your lemons to make lemonade.