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Never Abandoned

Reading: Numbers 21-24

Being a parent has its rewards and its challenges. There are times when my children do as I ask or they play well together or they eat their vegetables, and I just beam with motherly pride. Other times, I have to give them the same instructions over and over, or they fight, or they want brownies instead of broccoli! These are small things right now, but as my children grow older, they will continue to make decisions that will either please me or disappoint me. But the fact will never change that they are my children and I will always be their parent. Even if they grow up and disown me, it will not change their bloodline-they will always be my children, whether we are in fellowship or our fellowship is broken. 

Just for today, I will realize that being out of fellowship with God doesn’t mean I have lost my kinship in Christ. On more than a dozen occasions, the Bible speaks of how the Israelites spake and murmured against God.   Yet, when Balak instructed Balaam to curse the Israelites, God told him that they were His people and that they were blessed (22:12. 23:8,20; 24:1). “Although our state may require God’s discipline, our standing is eternally secure and perfect”. As a child of God, we can rest in our eternal security! Even when God has to discipline us, we still belong to Him.

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Fruitful or Blind

Reading: Numbers 17-20

2 Peter 1:5-9, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

Have you ever been outside on a bright, sunny day? If so, you’ve probably had to squint your eyes to see something in the distance, and chances are, you were unable to see it well. This is the context of the word ‘blind’ in this passage. In the verses preceding verse 9, Peter mentions things that we need to add to our faith: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.  When we fail to ‘put on’ the fruit of the Spirit, we no longer recognize that we once were in desperate need of someone bestowing these things upon us. It is important that although we shouldn’t dwell on our past, it should ever remind us that we were once in an ‘horrible pit’ (Psalm 40:2). David remembered where he was in verse 2 (“an horrible pit” and “the miry clay”) before he thanked God for where he was in verse 3 (“And he hath put a new song in my mouth”). We must remember where we were so that we don’t become ‘blind’ to the need of those around us. After all, that is our responsibility to man-to show them the love of Christ.  

Just for today, I will remember. I will remember the longsuffering and goodness of God and I will in turn show that to others.

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Reading: Numbers 13-16

I have some really great memories of my grandmother, or ‘Granny’ as we called her. She was a preschool teacher, so she always had really fun games for us to play. She even made Barbie doll clothes for my sister and me. And she really loved to embroider things. As a little girl, I remember her always having a needle in hand working on something. Sometimes, I would take out her embroider rings to get a better look at her handiwork. Looking at the top, it was so pretty-a bird, a forest scene, or a Bible verse. However, when I looked at the bottom, there were small knots where the thread had to be tied and there were loops and strings hanging from the back of the canvas that didn’t appear so beautiful. But the canvas wasn’t made to view from the bottom, it was made to be viewed from the top. 

When God’s needle stitches a pattern in our lives, we look up and can only see the bottom of what He is doing. But when He looks down, He sees a display of beauty in our lives. Sometimes, we can only see the threads from the bottom of God’s design, but child of God, remember that when we see threads, He sees a Master design. Isn’t it easy to get our eyes on the wrong things? The world and our flesh would have us focus on those things that would keep us physically depressed and spiritually discouraged. Each situation that we face can be viewed in one of two ways-we can choose to see God at work or we can choose to stare at a situation that is too overwhelming for us to handle. 

Just for today, keep a positive outlook. All twelve spies saw the same land, but two chose to see God’s strength while the others chose to focus on their weakness.

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Reading: Numbers 9-12

Waiting is difficult in this Fast Paced world today. Think about it…we have drive thru’s for food, dry cleaning, medications, and just about anything else you can think of. NOW, NOW, NOW!!! Everything is timed and well orchestrated so that we can finish and get to where we need to be next. We base our opinion of a service on the timeliness in which they provide it. But it is important that we do not put God in that same mold. We know that God works things according to His time, and His time is not our time. While we take that and believe it, our foolish, impatient heart wants to proceed without his direction. 

I like to relate it to our children when we ask them to stay put and we’ll be right back. Well, we know that a child’s idea of right back and our idea of right back are not quite the same! When the child wanders, he can get lost, become frightened and scared, and he causes himself needless worry. All he had to do was be patient and wait for the return of his Mother, however, his impatient heart was unwilling to stay put. 

Will we allow ourselves to do the same thing to our Heavenly Father? Has He asked you to momentarily stay put? If so, make your wait pleasant. Impatience will not help your answer come any sooner. It may be in this time of waiting that God wants you to strengthen your ability to trust. Could it be that is the sole purpose for your waiting?  

Just for today: Everyone is waiting for something, even if it is something small. Today, reflect on what you can learn from your waiting.

Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

We find great obedience at this time by the Israelites (9:17-23). When the cloud moved, they moved, and when the cloud stayed, they stayed. They knew the cloud was for their protection and guidance, and they willingly stayed in the safety of its boundaries.

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Time Stealers

Reading: Numbers 5-8

There are small situations that pop up daily that can really illustrate a Biblical truth, and it helps put things in perspective.  Case in point: Long before I started this blog, I had the idea for a daily devotional, but so many things demanded my time. I think that demand may be the wrong word choice here. It’s not so much that things are demanding my time, but rather, I am squandering my time over trivial matters. 

John 10:10 tells us, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” 

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary noted that “Bad principles are the root of bad practices.” As I examined the definitions of principles, the one that applied most appropriately was that a principle is a determining characteristic of something. Do I want to be characterized by poor use of my time, or do I want to seek out the Savior and spend time living in the abundant life He has promised? It is humorous to me that my six-year old has a gazillion (well, close anyway) toys in his room, yet I often hear the phrase, ‘There’s nothing to do!’ Of course, I scold him and offer numerous options that would appear to be exciting choices, but to no avail. Then I reflect that back to myself and realize that I squander my time over frivolous matters. My biggest weakness is the screen at which I am staring. I don't know what occupies your time, but it is important that we examine ourselves and how we spend our time, as it is the only time that we have. Wasting time is nothing more than a bad practice, and I have the opportunity to redeem the time I have been given.  

Just for today, I will make each action one of importance. I will begin to reform my bad principles so that I may take advantage of the time I have been given. I will seek out the abundant life that is readily available for me to take.

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You reap what you sow

Reading: 1 Kings 2:5-9

Galatians 6:7 plainly says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” While not a fun principle, this is one we all can stand to be reminded of from time to time. It is very easy use 1 John 1:9 to wipe the slate of our sin clean and sing zip-it-y do-da as we stroll to church. However, we must never lose sight of the fact that sinning leaves a scar on our life. Yes, we are forgiven. No, we are not unaffected. 

We see an example from Joab (v.5) & Shimei (v.8). We could converse exhaustively on whether or not David should or should not have called the lives of these men into account. Some say he was being vindictive. Others say he was simply following the code of the day. No matter how we want to look at it from a cultural stance, the old biblical principal of reaping and sowing plays out true here. Both had actions in their pasts that finally caught up to them before the end of their lives.

But, Reaping and Sowing doesn’t only work for the bad. I can sow “wild oats” and yes, the result will not be good. I can also plant specific seed that will bring forth just the fruit I had hoped to reap. This is why we: Memorize Bible, Put money away for a rainy day, Eat healthy foods. From Barzillai (v.7) we a man who had lived a life of loyalty that paid off for his family even after his life was over. He sowed good and reaped good.

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Christian Service

Reading: Numbers 1-4

If you have ever played on a sports team, you understand that there are different positions that require a different skill set. Some players are great defensively while others can shoot, pass, or hit the ball in an amazing way. Let’s take football for example. The defensive end won’t be required to do the same job as the quarterback, as their ability is in different areas. If every player tried to be the quarterback, to whom would he pass it? What if the kicker decided that he didn’t get enough ‘field time’ and decided to be a blocker? A team can’t have everyone doing the same job, just as a church can’t have everyone doing the same thing either. 

Paul addresses this same issue in the New Testament. See here in 1 Corinthians 12:14-26:

“For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it."

Just for today, I will realize that I have a job in the House of God. It may not be the most prestigious or the exact job I desire, but there is something I can do and it is important in its own way. We each have our own strengths and talents. For some, teaching a Sunday School class is what they do. For others, it may be filling the job of the usher. Maybe your job is simply to be faithful. Don’t underestimate the importance of your strengths.

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Missionary Monday: Update from The Wonser Family

Looking For a New Home/God’s Half Acre

Aloha from the Wonser Ohana. We are overjoyed to share how the mighty hand of God is directing and providing as we proclaim the gospel. The Bible Studies, worship and prayer meetings in our home, are expanding!! In our last update, we asked everyone to pray about a future meeting place, as we continue to outgrow our home. God answered our prayer in very unique circumstances. We have a dual prayer request and blessing to share. On July 31st, we will need to find a new home to live in, and reach the community out of. The owner of the home we are renting, placed it on the market, and it sold in four days!! It get’s even better...

God has provided a half acre for us to use for Bible Study, Worship, Prayer Meetings, and community outreach. The property is pictured to the right. It is located in the heart of our community. The owner is a Christian and a friend. The owner will keep the deed to the property, but has offered us to use it free of charge for the Glory of the Lord!! To purchase this half acre here in the countryside of Oahu, would cost over half a million dollars. God is graciously allowing us to give our blood, sweat and tears to clean up the property, and serve the community on it.

The property has a small two bedroom home, that will be rented by two Christian brothers, who will be helping us minister to the community. It does not have a building to meet in, but we can set up chairs, benches, and hopefully a tent as the Lord provides. Please pray for our family as we search for a new home to live in, and transition Bible study/worship and prayer meetings to “God’s Half Acre”.

Prayer Requests

1. Please pray that God will continue strengthening our relationships with members of our community.We desire to grow together in Christ.

2. Please pray that God will provide a new home for our family to live in and minister out of. The house we are renting will be sold July 31st.

3. Please continue praying for Mike’s father “Dann Wonser”. He is continuing to heal from Stage 4 lung cancer.

4. Please pray for our eldest daughter Dixie Mae. She graduated High School this year and is taking classes through Faith Bible Institute. We would love for you to join us in praying for Dixie Mae, as she continues following God while transitioning to adulthood.

5. Please pray for a young man we are discipling and helping through a challenging time in life. He is a United States Marine. Andrew was baptized the same day as our son Landon. Andrew will be worshipping and serving with us until he moves to California in October. His wife is currently in basic training to be a combat medic, in the US Army. He is enjoying spending time with us, and being discipled, but also misses his wife very much. We are blessed to help support him in life right now.

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Planning Ahead

Reading: Leviticus 25-27

Planning for later is not always easy. The family saving money for a large purchase, the dieter avoiding a tempting chocolate éclair when supper is approaching (well, maybe we should scratch that illustration), or the athlete working on fundamental drills when he would rather be scrimmaging. Many times, good things in our life require some amount of preparation. Planning can be less than fulfilling because the gratification is always delayed. However, to meet the goal that you have set for the future, it requires planning for today.  

Just for today, I will realize that I need to plan for the future. The children of Israel were required to let the land rest in the seventh year, but to do so, they had to store up and plan in the harvesting years. There will be times when we will have to go to our store house-if we find it full, we will be thankful that we took the time to be prepared.

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Following God is the only way to be truly Successful

Reading: 1 Kings 2:3-4

While David gives Solomon advice for his life after David is gone, we should note the specific order he gives it. David gives the Spiritual then the Political. It is evident in David’s life and in his talk here that David felt that no matter how well/bad you do in other things, if you put God first the rest will fall into place. David begins by telling Solomon that if he would stick with God, his Kingdom would not fail.

This is true for us today as well. Sure, some prosper in this world who never consider God. But, those who put Him first in their lives seem to not only prosper in worldly terms, but also heavenly. Following God is the only way to be truly successful.

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August 13, 2022

Worship Location for Sunday

Join us August 14th at Pegram Church of Christ!

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