Sunday, May 31, 2020

ICHABOD


 “The glory has departed”[1]

The events in Israel in the times surrounding the life of the prophet Samuel follow those of the book of Judges in the Old Testament. In fact, Samuel himself is usually considered the last of the judges. During his time, Samuel was the one to whom Israel looked for instruction in the ways of God and for guidance in times of oppression from foreign enemies. He was the last to hold this office before Israel and Judah began to be ruled by kings.
 
But the days were becoming dark. Even though Samuel himself continued in a strong relationship with God, the spiritual lives of most of the people during these times had lost practically all their meaning. The society had not become secular, necessarily, but the religious life of the people was more like that of the nations around Israel. Theirs had actually become a religion without life and one that was merely ceremonial. It had lost the sense of a true relationship with God.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

KING DAVID AND COVID-19


King David was feeling pretty good about his nation at the time.

They had just won a decisive battle against the Ammonites, and after that another one against the Philistines.
 
The first was important to David because when he had reached out in peace to them, the Ammonites shamed the men whom David had sent as emissaries. As one of the spoils of the victory in battle, David took the crown of the opposing king, a crown heavy with gold and imbedded with precious jewels. King David proudly placed it on his own head.
 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

KING ASA AND COVID-19

King Asa was the third monarch of Judah after Solomon. His story is found in 2 Chronicles, chapters 14-16. Asa was one of the good kings of Judah. His story in chapter 14 begins with the words, “Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God.”
 
Then, near the end of chapter 15 the account says of him, “Asa’s heart was fully devoted all his days.”
 
Despite this final complimentary assessment of his life, I have always thought that Asa lived one chapter too long. It would have been good if his story would have ended with the above quote in chapter 15, because the events of chapter 16 actually belie those words about Asa. I suppose that you could call chapter 16 “The sins of an old man.”
 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

LOG ORPHANAGE SCHOOL


We have actually talked about the possibilities of beginning a school at the orphanage from the very beginning, since sending all the kids to school is pretty expensive. The current cost is about $15,000 per school year total for all the children.

The orphanage school is happening now, although not really a proper school. Just like with everything these days, we are improvising and waiting to see what happens.
 
Here’s Joel's report…
 
Dear Beloved Dad, Mum, Church and friends,
 
Greetings in Jesus name, we thank God for the provision received
sent through the friends and readers of the blog post of Pastor Don and Vivian, we are humbled once again for the care you have cared for the Log orphanage Kenya. We request your prayers for the children God to keep caring and providing for them.
 
Received Ksh. 308,000 ($3000) and below is the breakdown of the budget.
 
Withdrawal fees=Ksh.2500. leaving a budget of Ksh. 305,580. Warm clothes because it's raining =1 cloth equal Ksh. 204x49kids=Ksh.10,000.
 
Maize =495kilogram, one kg =Ksh.200 x495=99,000.
 
Rice=479Kilogram, one kgs=Ksh. 167x479kgs=Ksh.80,000
 
Beans=280kilogramm, one kgs cost Ksh. 250x280kgs=Ksh. 70,000.

 
Cooking oil =60itres, one litre cost Ksh. 250x60litres=Ksh.15,000.
 
Soap 20Kilogram, 10kgs=1500x2=Ksh.3,000.
 
Sanitizer 2litres=Ksh.2,500.
Left to right:
Matron - Happiness Nyabuto
Cook - Isaac Okemwa
Cook - Lucy Kebati
 Patron - Isaac Mirera
 
Vegetables=150kgs, one kg =Ksh.126x150=Ksh.20, 000.
 
We had other needs of the children and within the orphanage.
 
Firewood one lorry =Ksh. 17,000 =2 tones.
 
Appreciation to workers =Ksh. 4,000

Ksh. 1000-=Matron

Ksh.1000 Patron

Ksh. 1000 cook

Ksh. 1000 cook.

We thank God for the provision, the food budgeted will last as Friday Date 8- Date 20 Wednesday/5/2020.Thanks God bless you we are praying for you, we keep praying for you all.
 
Dad, the school is closed and we have not be told when it will be opened. We were advised that we buy learning material for the children to keep reading at home. We revision textbooks, pens, exam, exercises books for some exercise at home. Some lesson are on the television but we do not have a television. We trust that God will provide.
 
Keep praying for the children, we the students in form four and pupils in grade 8 who sit for national examinations. Keep praying for these children to have materials needed for the study at home.
 
May good God bless you all.

Thanks for your love. Real good we call you blessed.

Yours Son Joel and Church/Orphanage leadership.
******************************************

If you would like to help the children of the Log Church Orphanage of Kisii, Kenya, you may make your check out to “The Log Church” and write “Orphans” on the memo line.
Send it to:
The Log Church
PO Box 68
Tripoli, Wisconsin 54564
Every nickel given in this way will be used for only aid for the orphans. It will be used for purchasing food, clothing, schooling, and other necessities of living. Nothing is held back or diverted for any other purpose

Sunday, May 10, 2020

ELIJAH IN SELF-QUARANTINE

I realize that I have been very liberal with my definition of “self-quarantine” in these covid-19 sermons. I have applied this term to people who have separated themselves from society for reasons other than for protection from disease, as we are doing in these days.
 
Nevertheless, in each case it was a disruption in their daily manner of living. It was a time when each of these men were in situations abnormal to them and when they were compelled to cope with uncomfortable conditions. This aspect of their self-quarantine has similarities to today’s circumstances.
 
Each of these men were also in situations of stress when they were obligated to seek the word of God in a new way in their lives. They did not have their normal structure of lifestyle with their “regular” way of hearing the voice of God.
 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

LETTER FROM PASTOR JOEL


I am still working through the difficulties in getting the money sent to Kenya and I appreciate your continued prayers for this. I have now spoken to my bank about bank-to-bank wire transfers, and it seems like this should work. I have resisted this method before, since the cost for each transfer is $45, but if that is what is needed, that is what I will do.
 
For your information, none of your gift money will go for these wire charges. As always all of your money is used only for the direct needs of the orphans unless you indicate it for another of the needs of the church.
 
Below is the response from Pastor Joel concerning what we were able to send this week .
 
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Sunday, May 3, 2020

PAUL IN SELF-QUARANTINE

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
It is with these or similar words that Paul uses to open each of his prison epistles.
Some of you may be asking, “What are the prison epistles?”
They are the four books of the New Testament that Paul wrote while he was in prison. The books are actually letters, and there are four of them, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. Paul was also in prison in Rome under the reign of Nero when he wrote the book of Second Timothy. Each of his arrests were the result of trumped-up and even false charges, but he was detained and incarcerated more than once, and for extended periods.
If we stretch our definition self-quarantine a bit, we could say that like David of last week’s mini-sermon, Paul was also in a sort of self-quarantine. Neither of these quarantines were of these men’s own choosing, so in that sense they were not self-imposed, but both were still a sort of sequestration.
Each one of us are also in some manner of self-quarantine that we did not choose. Certainly our situations are probably all very different. Some may still even be enjoying this time of separation, and to others it may not seem much different than an actual prison. But I suspect that all of us, to one degree or another, are at the point where we would like to return to some sort of normalcy in our former manner of life.
I am quite positive that this was also the case for Paul. I cannot imagine that he actually enjoyed being in confinement. This was a man who was accustomed to being among many people and journeying to many places. Nevertheless, there is very little sense of this in his letters.
It is not that Paul writes absolutely no words of discontentment, because there are a few. I will get to those few words, but from the great majority of the words we read in his letters, Paul seemed to be living a full and rich life during his time of confinement.
Paul was a teacher and a mentor to each of these churches, so naturally, the greater part of the content has to do with instruction in living as a follower of Jesus. Nevertheless, there are also hints or allusions—small indications as to how Paul was able to cope with his isolation.
If we are to learn contentment in being sequestered, listening to the advice of one who is himself imprisoned seems a good place to begin.
Three-fold Blessings in Time
Paul did not allow self-pity to find harbor in his daily life. He instead concentrated on the blessings that he enjoyed. I am quite certain he was thankful for the small blessings that he received every day, but in his writings he speaks of blessings that went far beyond his prison cell, blessings which extended even beyond time and into eternity.
Like Paul, these are the blessings which every follower of Jesus can share in our own hours of confinement. They are blessings we enjoy not only in the present, but which were also ours in the eternity past, and also in that which is to come.
Perhaps the clearest expression of this is found in the first fourteen verses of the letter to the Ephesians. Paul speaks of a time in the unimaginable past when he says, “God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, for He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless.”
These are the blessings that we have come to realize in the present, because it was in Christ that “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
And they are also future blessings, blessings that will also extend into “the fullness of time,” when all things are brought into harmony in Christ.
Blessings of Friends
We also see that while Paul sat in prison, he brought to memory those people in his life with whom he worked and whom he also had come to love. “I thank my God every time I remember you,” he wrote to the people of Philippi.
He not only brought his friends to mind, but he also prayed for them: “In every prayer for all of you, I always pray with joy,” he also told the Philippians.
And to the Colossians: “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you.”
“I always thank my God, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,” Paul wrote to Philemon.
Blessings of Imprisonment
Paul even saw the blessings of his imprisonment. He wrote to the Philippians, “I want you to know that my circumstances have actually served to advance the gospel. Because of my imprisonment, the gospel has also become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else. And most of the brothers, given confidence by what they see by my chains, now dare more greatly to speak the word without fear.”
The Blessings of Faithful Friends
These four letters that Paul wrote are only positive in nature. There is no negativity, no self-pity, no thoughts of depression or even of cheerlessness. We see that Paul, sitting as he did for those long days and longer nights in prison, concentrated on the positive and the constructive.
It was only to his close friend Timothy that Paul allowed himself to voice complaint. As we saw in David’s words last week, Paul also spoke of the injustice of what was happening to him.
“At my first defense, no one stood with me, but everyone deserted me. May it not be charged against them.”
“Alexander the coppersmith did great harm to me.”
“Demas, because of his love for this world, has deserted me.”
Blessings of a Faithful God
At the end of it all, Paul understood the final source of hope. Speaking to Timothy about the injustices done to him, the teacher adds: “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message would be fully proclaimed, and all the Gentiles would hear it. So I was delivered from the mouth of the lion.
And the Lord will rescue me from every evil action and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever.”
And to emphasize that conclusive statement, Paul punctuates with the exclamation point—“Amen!”
We can learn from Paul as we did from David last week, that even in times of self-quarantine and sequestration, good things can happen. But they do so only if we work at it.
If you spend your time of lockdown posting your complaints on social media, complaining how Trump is handling the pandemic, or how your governor is handling it, you probably will gain no personal growth during this time.
But if like these two men, you concentrate on what can be gained in these unusual days, you will emerge strengthened to face and to thrive in whatever change is required in the days ahead.
In Paul’s letter to his friend Timothy, he writes, “Make every effort to come to me quickly, before winter if you can…and when you come, bring the cloak that I left at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.”
Paul was preparing for a long winter of study and meditation. His final strength and desire for humanity is found in his final words to the Ephesians.
“Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.”