Monday, May 24, 2010

Deny, Self, Others...

The Lord is just blessing us lately with the fruit of our labor. It is wonderful how sometimes He allows us little glimpses at the result of hard work and obedience to His word. This fruit doesn't have anything to do with me, but the parents of this young lady who's story I am going to share with you.

This is Paulyna. She is pictured with my son only because I don't have another picture of her alone. This story is about her...not him, but they look cute together any way (just a side note).

For the past several months we have been learning that God demands radical obedience to His word. He wants us to obey everything He has laid out before us. He wants us to be doers of His word not mere hearers of his word. He wants us to be examples of this faith in Jesus to our children and to teach them as they grow to be obedient to Him and His word.

Paulyna just turned Sweet 16! Most children at this age are focused on themselves. As parents we either example a life of self service, working to seek recreation and entertainment, or we teach them to serve others, sometimes we do both.

Paulyna has been a perfect example of what her parents have exampled to her this past week. I want to share with you how.

Paulyna was going to celebrate her birthday as most teens do with a party. However, she wanted to do things differently. She struggled with having a party to serve herself. She wanted to celebrate, but how could she have a party complete with decorations, cake, presents when there are so many people in need around the world?

By her parents example she thought through the cost of this party. She could spend the money on this festive day...or she could help people in need. People who only eat one meal a day, have no appropriate clothes to wear in cold weather. Children who don't have moms and dads to love them, whose living conditions are substandard. She thought through the sacrifice of forgoing serving herself and what it would cost her to give it up for the glory of Lord.

Paulyna started planning her Sweet 16 birthday party with these people in mind. Pastor Cyrus and his wife Eucabeth are a young couple who have given their lives in service to Jesus Christ. They live in Kenya, way out of town in a small village. They serve their community and care for 22 orphans. They give ALL they are for the glory of the Lord.

After thought and prayer, Paulyan decided that she would have a birthday celebration. She would have cake and food. There would be games and swimming. All of her close friends would be invited to share in the fun....BUT...something was going to be different. Instead of excepting gifts as most teens do, Paulyna decided to give it up for other children like Justin and Phinny...

And for Bereket and Dianna...

And for all the other children of this orphanage. They may not know Paulyna, they may be forgotten by their parents or by loved ones, but they are not forgotten by God. By the grace of Jesus Christ that is evident in Paulyna's life, she gave up what could have been used for new games, i pods, clothes, movies or a number of different things to serve OTHERS!
On her birthday invitation she included a note that said:
Please NO gifts, money only to be donated to Remember the Poor.

Paulyna raised $110 by denying herself for the Glory of the Lord!

I am so proud of her! She has not only blessed the life of these children in Kenya, but the lives of the people around her. She has taken what she has learned from Jesus and put it into action in her life.

I love you sweet Paulyna. Your obedience will be rewarded by blessing!

Then Jesus went to work on His disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Matthew 16:24

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Juicy, Juicy Fruit...

Here is the contrast.

Fresh summer fruit is finally here. You go to the store and you buy a variety of yummy fruit. Peaches, oranges, plums, and pears (my favorite). You get home from the store, so excited for your yummy, healthy purchase and can't wait for your first BIG bite! It is hard for you to decide which one you want to sink your teeth into first, but you choose the big, delicious peach. You take the time to wash it off, pat it with a paper towel, and take a smell, because it is gonna be good. You stand over the sink, just so you won't make a mess when you take that first taste. Then you open wide, trying to fit as much in your mouth as you can....and.....its.....DRY! DRY?? All this preparation for dry, not a drip of juice? What a disappointment.

I am not partial to dry, yucky fruit. I enjoy the opposite, what about you? I like when I sink my teeth into that fruit, and I can't contain the juice. I like when it spills down my chin, and drips onto the floor, or my shirt. I like that slurping sound you have to make when you eat it to suck up the juice it is spilling out. I love when I have friends, or my kids eating juicy fruit all together and we all make the same noise, enjoying every last bite, leaving us wanting MORE juicy fruit!!!

How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners, or join a group of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1: 1-3

Following the Lords instruction in our lives produces a life, like fruit in season! The promises of Jesus say that if we obey Him we produce yummy, juicy fruit. Others can see it, smell it and taste it! Our leaves do not wither!

I want to share with you a story of fruit. Not to boast but to encourage. I was so blessed by what I will share with you that it brought me to tears. Sometimes we wonder if what we are doing is producing fruit. Did we hear God right? Should we have done things differently? Are we walking in His will? We can all ways do the fruit test.

I was at the Dr. the other day with my African boys. It was a doctors appointment gone bad. Lets just say, that I didn't take into consideration that we were visiting a female doctor and I had boys with me who are only used to seeing male doctors, especially when it is a full physical. After the physical we checked out and started across the parking lot to the car, while I was trying to think of what I was going to say to my mortified boys. Right as we were getting ready to get into the car our doctor came running out. "Mrs. Thiele, come back, I forgot to check the boys hearing and eyes!" We turned around and went back in.

As my boys were getting their eyes checked, which was going equally as bad, a nurse came up to me and said, "When you are finished here, there is a lady who wants to speak with you," pointing in the other direction. I turned and looked to see beautiful lady with a baby on her hip. At first I thought I may recognize her until I finally realized, that she was a stranger and I didn't know her at all. I put a smile on my face and greeted her with a big "HI."

She walked up to me and introduced herself. "Hi my name is Jamiee, you don't know me, but I know you." Well that is always interesting right? I responded, "Your face looks familiar." Jamiee went on, "You are the lady that has had all the garage sale fundraisers for your adoptions. I have been to them and talked to you there." "With that she points to the baby on her hip (this is the juicy, juicy part) and says, " This is my adopted daughter and we are trying to adopt her bother as well! You and your husband have inspired my husband and I so much that we decided to adopt!!" CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?? My God is so great! My God is so good! The fruit of obedience is sweet! Who would have ever thought that God would use our adoption garage sales for something other than rasing money AND then set up the perfect time and place to meet up with some of the fruit??

Jesus, totally caught me off guard. He took a day that I could have lived without and turned it into a day that I could not live without! He showed me that obedience to His word (no matter how hard, or how people look at you) produces a "Happy man, that is like a tree planted by the water and bearing fruit in season!"

Praise the Lord! His promises are true!

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