Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saving and Stumbling (Guest Post by Robbie Schneider)

Hi everyone!

My new friend, Robbie Schneider, has written a guess post for my blog.
And I wrote one for her blog; Use Resources Wisely
a blog of wonderful tips and links for volunteers who work with youth.
If you're involved with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Awanas, Royal Rangers, or any other youth organization, this is an excellent resource.


Here are her insights on walking with Jesus...

Saving and Stumbling

Hiking with my family is always something of an adventure. We always seem to find glimpses of God's blessings in His creation along the way, but it isn't without its share of challenges. Unexpected twists and turns. Inclines. Questions of which way to go when the trail is not clearly marked. 
It's the way it is with our walk with the Lord. Sure we know the end result - if we are faithful, with God's grace we will be saved, but the twists and turns along the way are a challenge. 
But, sometimes we stumble. Sometimes more than others. Sometimes we take a wrong turn. Sometimes we just want to turn around and head back. But, more often than not, we persevere. 
I'm grateful that our saving grace is not a one-time event. I'm grateful that when we stumble, our Lord is there with open arms to catch us and comfort us. And the times we feel we cannot take another step, our Lord is there to carry us through the trial. 

Thank you Robbie!

Friday, November 27, 2015

No Fear

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears has not been made perfect in love.

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How many times have I heard a person say, 

“I wanted ‘this’ (pick your this) so badly!  I was so sure it was going to happen! What did I do wrong?  Why is God angry with me?”

Or even,

“How could God have let this horrible thing happen?  I’m so angry with God!”

In either case punishment is involved.  Either he/she perceives that God is punishing him/her or he/she decides to punish God by being angry with him.

But if you stand in the light of Christ, believing in his death and resurrection, then there is no punishment.  There is no anger.  Once you’ve crossed from darkness to light he no longer sees the things that we think might make him angry.  All he sees is the blood of Christ that covers all our failings.

So, if a person becomes fearful, what is the lie that he/she is believing?

Is it, “God won’t take care of me.”?
“God isn’t paying attention.“?
“God can’t take care of me.”?
“God doesn’t really love me.”?

What is the truth?

God isn’t angry. 
 He doesn’t even see what you think might have made him angry.
God promises to take care of you.
Has God ever broken a promise?  Ever?

God is very real and very active.  God, and the relationship he wants with you,
 is the very definition of love.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nigeria Notes Part 13: November 6, 2013 - At the Confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers

When our boat finally pulled along side the other one Darlene decided to stay seated in our boat.  Everyone else got out and we assembled on the spit.  The very point of the spit was sandy with grassy headland above and farther back, as it widened out behind us.  We could see maybe 200 yards back and 100 or so yards at its widest point.

Dancing in the joy of the Lord!

A discarded fishing net on the spit of land at the
confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers
The first thing we did was sing.  We stood in a circle and one of the pastors introduced a song that was one that I had learned many years ago, “We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord”  What a gift!  To sing in this foreign land, as foreigners with these brothers a song that I know so well and love!  After that we sang and danced, me in my orange and black caftan, with my red bandana and Bob’s solar shield sunglasses and all these distinguished looking ministers in their expensive 3 piece suits!  Next we walked and prayed over the entire sand spit, claiming for God.

participating in repentance and forgiveness.

Next we made a circle, holding hands and we began to pray for the reconciliation, repentance and forgiveness of the tribes of Nigeria.  Before too long we were all on our knees.

I’m telling was at least 110F on the spit with no noticeable breeze.  I think it was the hottest I’ve ever felt and there was no shade.  Praise God I had remembered to put on #30 sunscreen!

Glorifying God in 110 degree heat!

Holy Spirit came and settled over us as we listened to each other repent for the sins of our forebears and received forgiveness.  At first it was just the representatives from the three tribes that asked for and received forgiveness.  But then I felt compelled to speak up.  I said I was an American but needed to also repent for my ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France who had mistreated the black man and did so much to intentionally make the black man small.  I declared that the black man is not small, but mighty and straight and tall!  And great in God’s sight!
And forgiveness was freely given.

Then we all just glorified God!
By this time everyone was back on their feet except me.  I had rolled over into a sitting position.  I knew the sun was too hot for me to remain standing.  I raised my voice in worship, sometimes in English and sometimes in my heavenly language.  It was as if the air around me became white, and then whiter and all around me fell golden rain!  Never, in my whole life have ever felt such a heaven coming down to earth!  I was sitting in the Shekinah Glory!  I will remember those moments for the rest of eternity.  At one point I heard a “click” and looked up to see the photographer snapping me.  It didn’t interfere with my worship and I’d love to have a copy of that image.  I think I may try to paint it.

Well, our time in Heaven passed and we hugged each other.  (I even hugged one of the officers with an AK47!)  We got back into our boats and flew across the surface of the of the Niger toward the police station.  But not before I filled a water bottle 1/2 with water from the Niger and 1/2 with water from Benue!  They are a beautiful shade of blue green, completely blended!

Racing back to the station.

On our way back to the police station

Poor Penny nearly fainted from the heat and I had trouble getting my legs to move when I finally got out of the boat.  Bob had to help me up the bank to the bench under the tree.

As we sat discussing what we had just experienced someone pointed the significance of the location of the the police station.  The building, 200 years ago had been the holding place for slaves that were captured inland and were waiting to be loaded onto bigger boats to be taken to the sea and far away to the new world.

The Marine Police Station in Lokoja
before the 2012 floods

When we heard this we went into the police chief’s office and asked if we could pray for him, his staff and building.  When he said yes we began to bind evil spirits and cast them out.  Then we repented for all the atrocities that happened at the hands of white people and black people alike.  We prayed for the well being of the chief and all his staff.  He actually got down on his knees as we laid hands on him.  He was so humble and ready to forgive and accept our blessings over him!

We came away feeling very full indeed!  Curses and strongholds had definitely been broken.  (Two weeks after we returned home a police station in Lokoja was attacked muslim terrorists and more than a dozen people, including police men were murdered.  But not the marine police.  They were protected by our mighty and loving God.)

My bottle of Benue/Niger River water

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fear: Revelation 14:12

image courtesy of google

Revelation 14: 12

The words of three angels precede this verse; (Revelation 14: 6-11)
The first one proclaimed that now is the hour of God’s judgement.  We are to fear, glorify and worship him as our Creator.

The second angel proclaimed the fall of Babylon, the wicked city who enticed all to drink her wine of maddening adultery.

The third one proclaimed damnation to anyone who bears the mark of the beast.

Then comes verse 12;
“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.”

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Times could get hard before Jesus returns.  In the face of want and need we will have to remember that the Creator of the Universe is always good and always providing.  But we must also never forget that Jesus is the reason that we fear, glorify and worship.  Without the testimony of Jesus there is not righteous fear or point to glorification and worship.

image courtesy of google

In the face of this truth, what will the fall of Babylon mean?  Is it a place or an ideology or a government system?  Is it Russia?  Is it Europe?  Is it the USA?  All are guilty of drinking that maddening wine.  Will this fall bring rejoicing to God’s people or weeping?  Or both?

People have questioned the mark of the beast for 2000 years.  Is it the tefilim worn by the observant Jews?  Is it the world system of credit?  Is it the micro chipping of our children or retina or fingerprint identification?  Is it in place now or should we still be on the lookout for it?  Will be subtle?  Is it now subtle?

image courtesy of  google

Here’s what I know that I know that I know, Jesus is my Savior.  He made a way for me to come before my Father.  His Holy Spirit dwells in me and because of that I am perfect in the eyes of my God.  There is no need to fear God the way we should fear Babylon and the mark of Satan.  

Holy fear is knowing what we deserve and glorifying God in worship 
because of his immeasurable gift to us!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Nigeria Notes Part 12: November 6, 2013 - Lokoja

We arrived at the Lokoja marine police station in the  early afternoon.  I think it was the hottest day yet!  We were given our life vests and sat on bench under a wonderful ancient tree.  There were cunning little lizards (8 inches long?) that ran up and down it trunk.  A lady officer came out with a spackle bucket of water and plopped hte cutest little toddler boy into it!  He was adorable!  He just sat and played in that bucket, splashing away, until finally his mother came and took him out and led him back inside.  And he never uttered a word or a sound!

While all this was happening, other men were arriving and joining us on the benches.  Some were dressed in traditional clothes.  Others were wearing beautiful expensive looking suits. That’s not to say that the traditional outfits were not beautiful!  They were lovely!  But there was such a contrast between the two!  The men in the suits were certainly much, much warmer than those in cotton.  

Underneath the giant tree outside the
Marine Police Station in
Lokoja, Kenji State,

James and Kingsley, from IG’s church were there in their “PJs”.  Two of the men in suits were pastors who work in the Governor’s houses of their states.  One was from Koji State.  Once as a representative of the Housa tribe region in the north.  One represented the Ebo tribe, and one represented the Yoruba tribe.  There was also a photo journalist who came with us and took lots of photos.

Big boat! (the one in front)

The Marine Police boats were quite large
and each had an outboard motor.

But just in case, they each had a groovy paddle
that looked like it had been hand carved!

On our way to the sand spit

The sand spit was probably about a mile away.  We couldn’t see it from the police station but as we approached, it came clearly into view.  

This is where we were going.  This sand spit divides the Benue and Niger Rivers, splitting Nigeria in two.

In this arial view, you can see that the Niger River is brown and the Benue River is green.  And very strangely, when they reach the confluence, they do not mingle, but continue to run side by side.
This is seen as a symbol of the division among the people groups
who reside in Nigeria, the reason we came all this way;
To pray for unity.

What happened next was strange and the only frightening thing that happened in our whole time in Nigeria. The other boat made it safely to the point of the sand spit but our boat kept on going, heading for the far shore on the Benue River side.  It was eerie, as we passed from the brown Niger to the blue green Benue.  That was when we noticed what we had been told; that the two rivers do not mix, but flow side by side, brown up against blue green without mingling.

We couldn’t understand why the other boat had landed on the spit but we were continuing on to the other shore.  As our boat acame to rest on the bank, and the police officer jumped out, grabbed the rope and stared hauling us in, Darlene loudly asked, “Why are we separated from the other boat?”  The officer said not one word.  Again Darlene spoke up, “Why are we not with the other boat??”  Still the officer was silent.  He continued to haul our boat in.  Everyone else was silent too.

Our friendly, AK47 bearing police man who
scared the daylights out of us!

I can only imagine what was going on inside Penny, Darlene and Bob’s minds, but my stomach was sinking.  There was a scraggly looking village on the top of the bluff above us and I began to think that we were being kidnapped.  This was more of an adventure than I had bargained for!  Then, suddenly, the officer threw the rope back in the boat, jumped in and started to pole us back out into the current.  Bob grabbed a paddle and helped and we were once again headed to the sand spit.

Darlene, grateful, indeed to back on track!

And there were Richard, IG and the rest waiting us.

We found out later that it was an innocent mistake.  When our police man heard that we were going to pray he automatically assumed we were going to the church in the village on the top of the bluff!  Those were an incredibly scary three or four minutes!

What's an adventure without a little heart stopping action, after all!

Friday, November 13, 2015

He Doesn't Change His Mind

2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NIV)
Here is a trustworthy saying; If we died with Him we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him, if we disown Him, He will also disown us;If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.

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In the King James Version the word used  is deny and the Greek interpretation of that word is disavow, reject, deny, refuse.

It says, “if we deny Him, He will also deny us; If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”

Can a person deny what they never believed?  If a person denies Jesus, does that mean that once they believed but now they don’t?

It sounds like Paul is saying that’s how we can lose our salvation, by denying Him after we accepted Him.

But it is says, “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful…”

So, is this a matter of a man who believed, but no longer believes?  If he turns his back on Christ and says he no longer believes, does Christ disown him?

The Lord says in Psalm 37:28 (KJV)  “For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.”

  Does He change His mind if we change ours?

If, when we choose to believe the promise, He enters in to dwell in us, does He no longer live in us if we deny Him?

Or, having believed, and Christ has come to reside in us, is His promise true?  Will He never leave us or forsake us? (Hebrews 13:5)

If Jesus spoke the truth, then those He denies must be those who never truly knew Him in the first place.

I don't know about you, but as the parent of an adult child who walked away from his faith,
this gives me immeasurable hope!

Jesus is ever faithful!
He will NEVER forsake those who placed their faith in Him.
The time will come when all who have walked away will remember the truth, 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Nigeria Notes, Part 11, Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Up at 4:00 am!  Dressed and sitting the lobby by 5:00.  The hotel has this silly floral arrangement in the lobby - dried twigs, maybe 4 1/2 feet tall with round balls that light up in  bright spots of color.  Psychedelic, man!
Sometimes one light was lit.
Sometimes they were all lit.
Sometimes they blinked!

Deacon Andrew arrived around 5:30 and picked us up.  We rendezvoused with IG after a heated phone conversation about why IG wasn’t ready yet, and headed for the Lagos National Airport.

That's our little plane to Abuja, the capitol of
Nigeria, right behind us. (Penny, Darlene, Bob, IG and Richard)

Abuja, Nigeria, from the air.

By the time we got on our plane the sun was up.  It was only an hour flight but we were served breakfast - an omelet, and Nes Cafe.  When we got off the plane in Abuja it was a bright sunny day.  Ocey picked us up and we drove to the Lokoja.  There were Richard and Darlene, Penny, Bob, IG and me.  As we pulled out of the airport and onto the main road I started seeing very impressive mountains.  They weren’t like our mountings, all in a range, but singular monolithic looking things that just stuck up out of the ground.  If I were going to compare them to anything in particular I would say they reminded me of pictures I have seen of the mountains of southern China.

The lumpy, bumpy mountains of Nigeria

We must have driven for about 3 hours, going through villages and towns, all with the shacks and low buildings made from cement along the roads.  People everywhere were selling things along the side of the road, from packages of cashews to bottles of water to spicy banana chips.  It was so dusty!  We stopped at a place that was very much like Mega Chicken for lunch.  It had AC as well.  The fare was just the same, chicken, rice, pounded yam.  But there was an ice cream case and Darlene enjoyed a popsicle.  She said she felt “fathered” by IG, who treated her.  It made her feel special, the way she had when she was little girl and her father had bought her ice cream.

So many of the roads are lined by these little shacks where people are selling anything they can find to sell.

We drove along a road that skirted the mighty Niger river.  So beautiful!  It felt a little familiar, like driving by the Navesink.  The only boats we saw were like dug out  canoes.  Some had one man, some two.  They were all fishing with nets.  The water of the Niger is brown.

My Navsesink, Fair Haven, NJ
(CrediCaroline Delaney Tardiff)