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Thoughts on 2 Corinthians 8:1-2

vs. 1. God gave grace to the Macedonian churches, and Paul wanted the Corinthians to know about it.

vs. 2. The Macedonians experienced a severe trial. Out of this trial, they had both an overflowing joy and extreme poverty. Somehow, these welled up in rich generosity.

This is contrary to what we would expect. We would expect people in extreme poverty to be sad, not joyful, and to cling to what little they have, not to be generous. However, I have seen numerous examples of this overflowing joy and generosity in the midst of extreme poverty right here in Honduras throughout the past 11 years.

It’s important to also note that these are Christians who are experiencing this severe trial. Jesus said we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33), and this is just one example of that. We must remember though, that God said:

“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” –Hebrews 13:5b (NIV)

O Lord, help us, we pray, to never lose sight of the joy that we can have in you, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Help us to remember that we can best tell the world that we are your disciples when we show our love to each other, especially as we give out of our own need. Thank you for always being with us and not abandoning us, even when we fail you. Amen.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:35 (NIV)

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2014 in Reflections, Scriptures

 

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January 2014 Update

Dear ministry partners,

Another month is about to end! Today, the teens in my morning class had an opportunity to tell me the first two stories in our “God Loves the Outcast” course, recite Deuteronomy 7:9 in Spanish, and answer the question “Who is Jesus?” from the paper “Elements of the Gospel.” They need to continue their practice, but they did very well. The first two stories in the course are “God Created Everything” (from Genesis 1:1-2:3) and “God Created People” (from Genesis 1:27-2:25). Today, we started on “The People Disobey God” from Genesis 3. The last story for this term will be “David Becomes King” from 1 Samuel 16 and 2 Samuel 7:10-16.

Most of my students go back to school on Monday. They’ve been on vacation since the end of November. This is their “summer” break. The public schools follow a February-November schedule. The private schools are split between this schedule and an August-May/June schedule.

Mauricio

Mauricio

Junior

Junior

A lamp for the desk

A lamp for the desk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this month, Mauricio and Junior helped me reconfigure the Internet cables so that we now have wired connections to each of the computers in my classroom. This not only provides a faster connection to the Internet, but also reduces the students’ exposure to the radiation generated by wireless devices. We moved the router and cable modem out of the nursery, since younger children are particularly sensitive to the cumulative effects of the radiation. While we’ll all continue to be exposed to low levels of radiation through the normal course of our lives, this change will help a tiny bit and was not expensive.

I was also able to purchase a desk lamp for each of the three computers at the back of the room. The overhead lights don’t light that area very well. Now, the students can easily see the keyboard and their notes.

Computer lab

Computer lab

 

It is my plan to continue to make the computers available to the students during designated lab times so they can use Duolingo and Anki to review vocabulary and grammar, and practice their listening skills. I also hope that next fall I will be able to offer some short courses on special topics during December and January when the students are out of school.

 

 

We are currently in the first week of our Scripture Memory Challenge. Except for the three students who were absent on the day their classmates signed up to participate, 100% of the students are participating! This will be a great help to them in learning English, but more importantly, will help grow spiritually. They will be thinking about the verses and hiding them in their hearts. The Holy Spirit will bring these verses to mind weeks, months, or years from now when the students find themselves in a situation where they need these words, either for themselves or for someone they are trying to encourage or comfort. We are not just learning the verses in English, though. This is a bilingual challenge! We are learning the verses in both Spanish and English. I say “we” because I am doing this, too. In addition, at least one person in Oklahoma and Jason Pagel’s youth group at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ in Brentwood (Nashville), TN, is also participating. We just might have to work in a little competition when Jason brings two teams from the youth group down here in June! 🙂

The verses we will be learning are from set 1 of the Fighter Verses. If you want to participate with us, it’s not too late to start! Just go to the Scripture Memory page and start memorizing! Don’t worry about not knowing Spanish. The links on the Scripture Memory page will take you to BibleGateway.com, where you can hear the verses in both English and Spanish.

Juan Orlando Hernández was sworn in as president of the Republic of Honduras this past Monday, January 27. I was able to watch some of the ceremony on the Internet between classes. Everything went well. I heard that evening that there had been a protest march, but the marchers weren’t able to get close to the National Stadium, so there was no disruption of the festivities.

As I said last month, every day of peace is a day of thanksgiving for lives saved and another chance to share God’s love with these beautiful and desperate people. Please pray that the peace continues and all parties will come together in a spirit of unity and reconciliation to begin a united attack on the source of the poverty and violence that grips this nation.

I have made good progress on my “to do” list last month an continuing through this month, but there is still much to do. I have made all the necessary reservations for my spring trip. I’m very grateful that I was approved to lease a car from the Grace Corporation in Max, ND. Including the extra travel costs involved with leasing a car so far from San Antonio, I will still save about 50% of what it would cost me to rent a car in San Antonio. I also have confirmed reservations with all of the families who will host me during my trip. This is wonderful!

I have openings on my schedule yet to speak to your groups, large or small, during my time in Texas (April 10-May 18). Please let me know soon if you want to get on my schedule. Fridays, in particular, fill up quickly.

Please continue to pray with me that it will be safe to walk between my home and the church building by this July (one year after One Nation One Day and six months under the new administration), that the areas considered to be hazardous will become safe for everyone.

This month, I am thanking God for seven years of productive and fruitful life following my lumpectomy for breast cancer on January 23, 2007. I trust that He will continue to guide me in His ways and on His path! Thank you, Lord!

I am very grateful for the way God has provided for me during these past 32 months, first in Costa Rica and now in Honduras, through my financial and prayer partners in several states and by protecting my investment accounts from major declines. My accounts are not doing well this month, but I am trusting that God will continue to provide for me as He sees fit in the years to come, wherever He sends me.

If you would like to partner with me financially, please read “Become a Ministry Partner” for details on how to make a deductible or non-deductible gift to help pay for my monthly expenses. Although I am using my retirement accounts to pay many of my expenses in Honduras, I still need to raise an additional $500 a month for my monthly living expenses.

Please remember when you shop online that if you buy through the links on my website, you’ll be supporting my ministry. Amazon.com and ChristianBook.com both pay me a small fee for purchases made through my links.

If you would like to be one of my prayer partners and haven’t signed up for my prayer partners’ mailing list, please do so here: http://eepurl.com/wVcB5.

Now may the Lord of Peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. May He grant you the desires of your heart as you seek His desires for you. May God grant you a patient and joyous spirit as you wait for springtime and especially as you wait in anticipation of Jesus’ return. In all things, to God be the glory. Amen!

Please keep praying!

With love from Honduras,

Star

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. -Psalm 18:1

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in Honduras, Prayer Requests, Scriptures, Updates

 

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Reflections on Romans 8

It started with the lesson on Sunday afternoon in my English-speaking church in Honduras. The text was Romans 8. By Friday morning, there were posts from Romans 8 from four U.S. ministries in my Facebook newsfeed. That is not exactly a common occurrence. So, I thought I should re-read Romans 8 this morning. This is the result…

Reflections on Romans 8

I am not condemned! The law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Jesus from the law of sin and death. God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son, in the likeness of man to be condemned in the flesh so that the righteous requirement of the law could be fulfilled in me, if I walk according to the Holy Spirit. Because I live according to the Spirit, I set my mind on the things of the Spirit. This gives me life and peace. I must never set my mind on the things of the flesh, for that cannot please God.

The Spirit of God dwells within me: the same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead! Through this same Spirit, God gives life to my mortal body!

I am not a debtor to the flesh, so I will not live according to the flesh. This would only lead to my eternal death. But, through the Spirit of God, I will kill the deeds of the flesh so that I can live! The Spirit of God leads me because I am a child of God. I have been adopted into God’s family. I do not fear. I am not a slave to sin. I have been adopted into the family of Almighty God! His Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I am God’s child. Therefore, I am an heir of God! I am an heir with Jesus Christ Himself!

However, receiving the inheritance requires that I suffer with Christ, so that I can be glorified with Him. I cling to the hope Paul gives in this passage. I believe that the glory waiting to be revealed to me will far surpass any sufferings I might experience in this life. All of creation is waiting and longing for restoration, for being set free from bondage to corruption. Even I groan inwardly and long for the day my body will be redeemed, the day I will receive my resurrection body as a child of God. It is in this hope that I was saved, and I wait for it with patience (and sometimes impatiently).

It is God’s Spirit who helps me in my weakness. I certainly don’t know how to pray as I should, but the Spirit intercedes for me according to God’s own will.

For everyone who loves God and is called according to His purpose, all things work together for good. There may be some sufferings, some trials along the way, but those are the very things that will help to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ. God has predestined this conformation, so it will happen. The process might not always be pleasant, but the result will far outweigh the pain along the way.

God called me to be reconciled to Him through the death of His Son. He gave me the faith to believe, to obey, to trust, to follow Jesus. Because of Jesus’ shed blood, God has justified me. In His eyes, I am righteous. Therefore, He will one day give me a resurrection body for my eternal spirit. This is as certain as if it had already happened. Therefore, I can say with Paul that He has already justified and glorified me!

In light of all this, who can be against me? What does it matter? God will give me everything I need. Can someone bring a charge against me? It doesn’t matter. God justifies me. Can anyone condemn me? Only God could have condemned me, but He has justified me through His Son. Jesus is now at God’s right hand, interceding for me. No! No one can condemn me! Who can separate me from the love of Christ? No one. Nothing. No power on earth can separate me from the love of Christ. I am more than a conqueror through Jesus and nothing is able or will ever be able to separate me from the love God in Christ Jesus my Lord!

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the words of truth You give us in the Bible. Most importantly, thank you for the Truth you gave us and still give us in Your Son, Jesus, who made it possible for us to be reconciled with You! In His precious name I thank You and I worship You. Amen.

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2013 in Reflections, Scriptures

 

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Gospel of John Prayers Moved

The Gospel of John series of prayers has been moved to my new dedicated writing site: vision.starferdinand.com

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2007 in Scripture Prayers, Scriptures

 

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Praying the Scriptures – 5/30/07 #2

Nu 23:19; 1 Sa 15:29; Ps 145:4-6; Mi 7:18-19; Ps 40:2-3; Jn 8:32, 34-36; Pr 3:3; 1 Co 13:4-8; De 15:10; Pr 3:27

O God, You are not a man that You would lie, nor the son of man, that you should repent. What You have said, You will do. You will make good what You have spoken. You are the Strength and Glory of Israel, who will not lie nor repent. To lie would be to go against Your very nature, and that You cannot do. You have nothing to repent of.

Lord, I will commend Your works to the next generation, and will declare Your mighty acts. I will meditate on Your wondrous works and the glorious majesty of Your honor. Of the might of Your awesome acts I will speak, and I will declare Your greatness.

There is no God like You, who pardons iniquity, and passes over the disobedience of the remnant of Your heritage. Help me to be like You, Father, who doesn’t retain anger forever, because You delight in lovingkindness. As You have compassion on me, help me to have compassion on others. Please tread my iniquities under foot and cast all my sins into the depths of the sea.

God, thank you for bringing me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay. You set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. O Father, You have put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to my God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in You.

Thank You for the Truth, Father. I know the Truth, and the Truth has indeed made me free. I don’t want to be a bondservant of sin, Father. I want to remain in Your house forever, as Your child. Lord Jesus, You have set me free, Thank You for making me free indeed.

I will not let love or truth leave me. I will bind them around my neck and write them on the tablet of my heart.

God, You have given me Your love, a love that is patient, kind, doesn’t envy or brag. It is not proud and does not behave inappropriately. Your love does not seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil, doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Your love never fails, Father. Everything else will be done away with, but Your love prevails. Help me, O God, to show Your kind of love to others.

I want to have a generous heart, like Yours, Father. Help me to cheerfully give to others. Help me to not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in my power to do the good.

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2007 in Scripture Prayers, Scriptures

 

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Praying the Scriptures – 5/30/07

Ps 118:28-29, 1 Tim 6:15-16, Ps 8:3-6, Is 37:16, Nu 6:24-26, Ro 1:7, Ps 15:1-5, Pr 4:25-27, Pr 17:17, Ro 12:10; John 15:15.

O Lord, my God, I give thanks to You and I exalt You. You are good and Your loyal love endures forever!

Blessed and only Sovereign, King of kings, and Lord of lords, You are the only one with immortality who dwells in unapproachable light.

Father, as I consider the works of Your hands, the sun, moon, and stars, all that You have created on this earth and in heaven, I am staggered by the thought that You are mindful of man. You created him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made man ruler of the works of Your hands and put everything under his feet. This is so awesome. You alone, O Lord of hosts are God over all kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heavens and the earth. I am saddened, though, by man’s response. Globally, we have failed miserably to be good stewards of all that You have entrusted to us. Help us, Father, do be better stewards.

Bless us and watch over us, O Lord. Please smile on us and be kind to us. Look on us with favor and give us peace.

O God, You have loved me and called me to be a saint. You have given me, from Yourself as my Father and from my Lord Jesus Christ, both grace and peace. I am humbled and honored to be a part of Your family.

Help me, my Father, to walk uprightly, to work righteousness, and to speak truth in my heart. Help me not to slander anyone or to do evil to anyone or to take up a reproach against my friends. Let me despise the actions of the reprobate, but honor those who fear You. Help me to keep my oaths even when it hurts to do so. Help me to generously lend money to my brothers and sisters without interest. Help me to never accept bribes. I know that if I do these things, Father, I will not be shaken.

God, with Your help, I will let my eyes look straight ahead and fix my gaze directly before me. I will walk on the path You direct, letting You establish my ways. I will not turn to the right or to the left from the path You put me on. I will keep my foot from evil. O God, I can’t do this without Your constant help. Please do what is necessary to keep me on the path You want me to follow.

Thank You, Father, for the friends You have given me. Friends who love at all times, who were born for times of adversity. Help us to be devoted to one another in love, honoring one another above ourselves. Lord Jesus, You told Your disciples long ago that they were no longer servants, but friends. Be my friend, too, Lord. I so want to be Yours. Amen.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2007 in Scripture Prayers, Scriptures

 

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Praying the Scriptures – Habakkuk 2

O Lord, as we stand our watch to see what You will say to us, help us to wait patiently. Help us to write clearly the vision You have revealed so that all who read it will understand Your message. Help us, Father, to stand fast, knowing that You will fulfill Your promises and accomplish Your plan at the appropriate time.

Help us to live, God, not in pride, but faithfully. Help us to live as You would have us live, not full of wine, pride, lust, or desire for power.

O God, there is much that is wrong in our nation, but let there be no cause for anyone to taunt us or rise up against us. Let us not covet evil gain so that we can live in expensive homes and escape disaster. Father, help our government leaders to use our national power wisely, to help the oppressed, but let us not build towns with bloodshed or establish cities by iniquity.

Let the earth be filled with the knowledge of Your glory, Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Keep us from idolatry, Father. There are many things we tend to idolize in this world of technology and convenience, but those things cannot awaken and teach, for there is no breath in them.

You are in Your holy temple, Lord. We will all keep silent before You. Amen.

(Habakkuk 2, NKJV)
Copyright © 2007, Star Ferdinand. All Rights Reserved.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2007 in Scripture Prayers, Scriptures

 

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Praying the Scriptures: Psalm 2

Father, protect us against the many nations that rage and the peoples plotting vain things. Defend us against the kings of the earth who take a stand and the rulers who take counsel together against You and Your anointed. As you laugh at them in derision and speak to them in Your wrath, help your people, O Lord, to remember that You have set Your King on the holy hill of Zion, the One who is Your Son and who shall rule Your people forever.

Please help the world leaders, God, to be wise, to take in Your instruction, to serve You with fear and to rejoice with trembling. Help them to embrace Your Son so they will not perish.

Thank you, Father, for blessing all of us who take refuge in Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.

(Psalm 2, WEB)
Copyright © 2007, Star Ferdinand. All Rights Reserved.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2007 in Scripture Prayers, Scriptures

 

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Praying the Scriptures: Psalm 1

Father, please don’t let me be like the ungodly who are like the chaff that the wind blows away and who shall not stand in the judgment or in the congregation of the righteous.

Instead, help me, Lord, to be one of those whom you bless for not walking in the counsel of the wicked or ungodly, or standing in the path of sinners, or sitting in the seat of the scornful.

O God, I do delight in Your law. Help me to meditate upon it day and night. Make me to be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth fruit in its season and whose leaf shall not wither. Let whatever I do prosper for Your glory.

Thank you, God, for clothing me with the righteousness of Christ so that I shall not perish. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

(Psalm 1, WEB)
Copyright © 2007, Star Ferdinand. All Rights Reserved.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2007 in Scripture Prayers, Scriptures

 

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James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. (James 1:17, WEB)

God is the source of every good gift and every perfect gift, including healing.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2007 in Cancer, Scriptures

 

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