Women, Practice Your Faith Ministry

“God always fulfills His purpose.” Psalm 138:1-8

“I will praise You, LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing Your praise.                                                                    I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your name for Your unfailing love and Your faithfulness, for You have so exalted Your solemn decree that it surpasses Your fame. When I called, you answered me; You greatly emboldened me.  May all the kings of the earth praise You, LORD, when they hear what You have decreed.   May they sing of the ways of the LORD, for the glory of the LORD is great.  Though the LORD is exalted, He looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, He sees them from afar.   Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.  You stretch out Your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand     You save me.  The LORD will vindicate me; Your love, LORD, endures forever—do not abandon the works of Your hands.”  (NIV Bible)

Thanksgiving ought to be an integral part of our praise to God. This theme is woven throughout the Psalms.  When we thank Him for His material and spiritual blessings, we also need to thank Him for answering our prayers! Do you recall when David asked God for His protection, strength, comfort, patience, love and other special needs and He gave them to him?  Don’t think that God will always give us everything we want, nor will He grant us all we request.  But we can be certain that He will complete His work.  (Bible Diario Vivir- Daily Living)

We all dream and make plans.  We labor arduously to see our dreams and plans become realities. But in order to make the best of this life, we need to include God’s plans among ours. Only He really knows what is best for us.  Well, I have so many reasons for gratitude to You, my LORD! (Bible Diario Vivir – Daily Living)

The favor of God has always been around you who are reading these words and around me.  His favor never fails.  His desire is that you and I always thank Him for what He does.  The Christian life is not simply praying, having a good relationship with others and having good Bible reading.  We need to be              grateful.  I Thess. 5:17

The purpose of this letter is to give thanks to God for the annual program of the Woman, Practice Your Faith ministry.  The project of WPYF 2018 is being fulfilled.

Each month we have a pastor and his family for whom we pray.

Every first Sunday of the month our WPYF staff gathers to pray.

We make visits throughout the country for Mothers United in Prayer.

January 10th, a reunion for Mothers United in Prayer.

February 11-16thtraining for counseling in Indianapolis

March 15thWomen’s Program in Boca Chica

April 7thWomen’s Retreat in Quisqueya

January 2018

Every first Sunday the staff meets to pray, have breakfast together and plan that which we’ll do next.  It’s a way we can pray for and interact with each other.  In this way we get to know each other better, forgive each other and serve others.  Our team is very involved in the activities which we normally do.  And this causes the Woman, Practice Your Faith staff to be stronger in Christ.  Thank God we have been meeting to pray specifically for pastors for three years already.

We have received answers and plans from God.  We had our gathering and more women were involved in the ministry of Mothers United.  We have seen our petitions answered and countless praises for what He has done. For this reason, it is very important to give thanks.

In Cuba there have been marvelous answers to prayer since my visit there to share about Mothers United.  I have received four letters telling me about activities in different parts of Cuba.  There have been up to 50 to 60 ladies in attendance in each gathering and many prayers have been answered.  We are infinitely grateful and to You they will sing of the ways of the Lord.  Psalm 138:5

February 2018

This was a month filled with blessings!  I received counseling classes at the 3rdlevel.  This is one manner of reinforcing the ministry of Woman, Practice Your Faith by helping the women with counseling. Thank you to all who in one way or another prayed or financially supported me in this trip which was a blessing. I was able to share with different ladies.  They helped me visit Philadelphia where I shared about Woman, Practice Your Faith and they were very excited.   I also was in Florida where I shared with other churches.  God provided grace for them to hear about the testimony of the ministry of Woman, Practice Your Faith.  Oh, God, thank you for listening to the voice of the humble.  Psalm 138:6

March 2018

An activity with the ladies from several churches in Boca Chica. Originally, we had planned to have a retreat at Quisqueya in March.  However, the date was changed to April 7th.  Instead we had one evening in Boca Chica on March 15thwith a team from Westchester EFC in Des Moines.  I shared about Mothers United which was new for the ladies there and we presented Days for Girls along with a program of music.  The church was packed!!

April 2018

As I mentioned God changed our original date and plans.  But His plans are not ours.  Thus, the purpose of this blog entry is to thank God for His plans! The activity in Quisqueya was marvelous, with a theme chosen by their leader and the need of the women: “Look to Jesus”                                                            We shared.  This was our second year to celebrate the fruits of the ministry of Woman, Practice Your Faith.  The speakers were:  Vernon Figueroa, Noe Figueroa and Anyoly Rivera.   57 ladies were in attendance who were touched by God’s Word.  Allow me to share one testimony of a lady who accepted Jesus.

Last October our sister, Sherry Winters, and three of her USA friends invited me to visit various chapels that their church had helped construct in the DR.  Thus, we were able to invite some leaders to attend the conference in November.  The result was that we visited a lady with whom I shared the Gospel.  That day we sang “Hay Libertad” (There is Freedom) and she accepted Jesus.  We congratulated her.  And then after several months we met again in Quisqueya where I greeted her, but she did not remember me.  However, later during the conference when we again sang “Hay Libertad” (There is Freedom) this lady’s mind began to recall and she told me, “You are the person who helped me find Jesus Christ.  What a blessing!  My life has been changed.  Jesus changed my life and my heart became joyous.”  Thus, I give thanks to the Holy Spirit because He is the One who convinces. And I praise God for His marvelous love for having allowed us to share with the women of Quisqueya.  You have revived us!!  Psalm 138:7

I can say “Ebenezer, until now the Lord have helped me serve Him in the school at Los Girasoles.” This is the beautiful testimony where He initiated a work to sow the Word in 238 children.  For three years we’ve been working giving classes on Mondays from 8:00-9:00 am.  About 20-30 children have accepted the Lord Jesus.  He is the One who reaps, and I know He will do it because many of us are the fruit of that harvest!

In this month of April, I was invited to participate in an Olympic event where many activities took place: singing, modeling, literature, information on how to start a business, dance and many other things.  But what most caught my attention is how the Word of God remains seeded in their hearts.  Many of these children do not have Christian families.  Despite this, however, they have decided to serve God, and this is the will of God.  In this same month we could provide a medical clinic where about 140 people participated. Among these, 5 decided to receive Jesus in their hearts and one of them is now attending a church and others are in the process of doing likewise.   I have decided to serve Him and sow the Word.  The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  Our desire ought to be to do His will, love people, and He will make the changes in their lives.  There are so many things we can do for His glory.  I don’t want to turn back!  I want to follow the Master doing that which He did here on earth.  And I will follow Him!!

Thank You Lord for all You did, have done and for that which You will do.  Your love is deep, and we experience it each time we enter communion with You.  Thank You for the mercy You’ve had with Woman, Practice Your Faith.  It has been a great blessing to be able to do these activities for Your honor and glory!!

No fear ought to come into our lives!  Only God knows about the future!  These words of thanksgiving have given me the strength to continue the purpose of God in my life – the ministry of Women, Practice Your Faith. I am not afraid!  He will always provide!  He is Jehovah Jireh.  My plan for this next conference in November is “Rest in Him and He Will Do the Rest!”  Proverbs 3:5-6

“Apoyes” (lean) gives the idea of putting all one’s weight on something; resting and trusting in that person or thing upon which one finds support.  When we have an important decision to make, sometimes we feel we cannot trust anyone, not even God.  Nevertheless, He knows what is best for us.  He even judges better than we regarding what we really want!  We ought to trust in Him completely in all decisions we make. This does not mean we should stop thinking carefully nor scorn the reasoning ability which God has given us. It means, nevertheless, that we should not view ourselves as wise in our own eyes.  We should always be ready to listen to the Word of God and what wise counselors advise.  Take your decisions to God in prayer!  Let us read the Bible as a guide and then continue in the direction that God gives. He will make your paths straight as He guides and protects us.  (Bible Daario Vivir- “Daily Living”)

REST in HIM!  Giving thanks to Him always because He never will abandon the work of HIS hands!

{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}

http://www.timeministries.org

http://www.morethanmissions.com

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Never Played Bass for James Brown

I love almost all forms of music, from polka to rock, funk to fusion, country to soul, even elevator music (yes, I may be guilty of riding up an extra floor or two if the groove is right).  And music is powerful. The right vibe can change my mood, help me recall good times, provide a tangible defense against those not so good memories, and can in general set things right with the world. Music is also magical, it can superimpose me onto a stage where I am playing bass for James Brown or Tower of Power or even back to the 70’s when I desperately wanted to play bass for Rick Derringer or Ted Nugent. I love music.

For my wife, Charlotte, music is like a time machine. She can recall her weight, age and what she was doing at that time from just hearing an old song. I’m not kidding! I’ve been married for 33 years and her ability to recall certain things just from hearing songs is amazing. Some of her best memories of her mother who died in her early teens years can be recalled with a song. It’s kind of crazy how her mind works, or maybe, it’s more on the amazing side.

Perhaps that’s why music is on my mind today, it’s the potential of it. It can do so much. It can turn back time, it can be a friend in low places, it can change the world. Those are things music can do, what it is at its peak, at its highest potential. So, because it has the potential to do so much, we come to expect so much from it. And with great anticipation, great potential, comes disappointment when that potential isn’t met.

You recognize this, right? It’s why you’ll bounce from station to station in the car, giving each only a few seconds worth of judgment, until you land on a tune that fits the vibe of a windows down, sunglasses on kind of day. When you find that one song that fits, it caps the moment. Failure to find it can often kill the mood. What a waste of the breeze coming in the windows! What a waste of a perfectly good volume knob that has a few more cranks in it! The stage was set, missing the right tune was a serious waste of potential!

Of course, this isn’t just about finding the right song on the radio and music doesn’t have the market cornered on having the potential to change the world in any number of positive ways. In fact, where we recognize music at its most potent is where it is the soundtrack to the amazing things people do when they are pushed to make the most of their potential. And yes, when I say “people” I mean us as a collective group of skin and bones roaming the lands under God’s good purpose, but as members of that group I also mean you and I as individuals. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the potential things the team can do that we forget that we are all individual contributors who, by living up to our greatest potential, bring everyone up with us.

It’s hard to start, or to even see things that way. Everything seems like a bummer. The problems around us are too big, too heavy, too much. And that’s just the problems themselves and doesn’t account for having to try and corral and lead various rowdy groups of people who are making matters worse by doing too much of the wrong thing or, most likely, nothing at all. Where we lack hope, potential seems a far-off dream. But we have no right to lament as if we have no hope, we are the followers of principal Maker and Dealer of Hope. Where hope has died in Christians, it’s dead to the world. That mustn’t be! There is most certainly hope, which means we have a proper foundation to reach our potential, even as we look out at the complicated world that surrounds us.

That’s the complication, perhaps, even the distraction. Potential is local. It’s personal. It’s being faithful in the means that God has set before you and trusting Him with the rest. It’s recognizing that your means and your situation may be different than someone else’s. Your job is to reach, to squeeze every ounce of action and love and steadfastness out of the situation you’re in; to walk willfully and confidently under the grace of God and the boldness of the Spirit. We can’t carry the world, God must do that. And He’s on the task, choosing to use those who are in His service as the means through which His will shall be done. That is the output of our potential. Could there be a greater honor than to be part of this Kingdom of priests, used to bring wandering image-bearers of God back to right relationship with Him?

In western Church culture (Christianity) we have displayed great propensity to both shine brightly at the apex of our potential and cower under a basket, hiding it from view. However, what is more and more prevalent is a potential that is widely acknowledged and celebrated but never actually pursued. It is lukewarm, the kind of thing Jesus spews from his mouth. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the potential that fills half of the books on our shelves, the ones that we read so we can know how to witness to our neighbors, how to fight for the least of these, how to get our finances in order so we can be a blessing to others. We devoured the contents, made notes in margins, talked about them over coffees and Rice Krispies Treats at small group. Yet, we’ve still never even invited the neighbors into our homes for a meal, let alone introduce them to Jesus. We’ve started to notice the least of these more but used it as merely a reminder to make a plan on how to help them next time. And things just keep coming up, there just hasn’t been the right moment to be a blessing to someone else. Such potential! But it’s lukewarm.

Just think what it could be like if we lived our lives within the good potential that our Heavenly Father has stored up for us. It really is possible! It is what the Spirit is to help us do! Often times we feel the gap rather profoundly when we go to church. We’re there to recharge but instead find ourselves filled with guilt around the obvious distance between who we are created to be and who we are living as; the potential we have been blessed with and how we are currently using that blessing. The core thing here is that living is a verb, it’s an action. You can’t live up to your potential without doing anything. Our faith isn’t solely one that lives in minds and hearts. Jesus walked the earth so that we might be saved and to leave footsteps for us to follow as we walk the earth after Him.

So how is it done? How do we make the most of our potential? Let’s look at Jesus to test this thought. Jesus gave us a great pattern to model our lives after:

  1. He walked according to the will of the Father
  2. He cared for people
  3. He preached the good news
  4. He formed leadership to carry on after he left
  5. He gave everything to accomplish the mission

You see it. All we need to do is prioritize our lives around these 5 attitudes.  Can you think of a better way to live your life then to live in faithfulness to God and for the betterment of others? Those two things are the focus of the 10 commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and Jesus’ summation of what the whole Law was getting at. Whether a person knows Christ or not this push to better others will have tremendous transformative impact on our culture. Good News changes the world, that’s a guarantee.

So how can you be the soundtrack in the lives of those around you? How much higher can we reach cultivating the better in the lives of everyone in our community? Each person you connect with in your life has crazy wonderful and possibly frightening happenings in their lives every day.  Go connect with them.  Find out who they are and what makes them tick. Build good things into their lives and share your life stories with them. You will be astonished how similar your story is to the stories of the Bible.  The Bible is full of God moving people forward. Think of all the men and women in the Bible. They suffered kept moving, the protected kept screwing up, yet God gave them a vision of potential to be a people of greatness and backed that up with a Savoir/leader in Jesus.

As we move forward in faithfulness, striving to win the race and not only reach our full, blessed potential but to bring it out in others, lets:

Accomplish the mission.
        “You shall love the Lord your God”

Connect with other along the way
         Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Influence other to do the same.
        Use all your heart, all your Soul, all your strength and all your mind

 Oh, and remember, sometimes in order to have the right song available at the right time, you have to bring it with you. Preparation isn’t a lack of trust, it’s a commitment to not miss out on an opportunity to make the most out of every moment. You keep a Tower of Power CD in the car in anticipation of a sunny day, you keep your bass playing chops up to snuff in case Rick Derringer calls, and you keep the love of God and the Good News of Jesus ever on your lips as you most certainly will meet someone who needs to hear it.

 

RICK LEE – TIME President

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{TIME | More Than Missions – Short Term Missions!}

http://www.timeministries.org

http://www.morethanmissions.com