Saturday, January 19, 2013
The following testimony is very personal. I just finished - for the second time - the Setting Captives Free (settingcaptivesfree.com) course on Purity. I am sharing it here because I know that "no temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man."(1 Cor 10:13), and I know that sometimes food issues are closely tied to sexual issues.
For years I had been in bondage to the sin of self-gratification. My father had porn around the house and this affected my understanding of what was normal. When I received the Lord, fantasizing and self-gratification was still a stronghold, but I was uninformed, ignorant. The Lord was dealing with other issues in my life. After I was married, even though my husband and I had a good enough relationship, I still resorted to self-gratification if I did not feel completely satisfied. But the Spirit began to convict me that this was not pleasing to God, and so it became a struggle as I wanted to cease, but could not. There came a time when my husband's illness and disability contributed to the problem, and I tried to rationalize that self-gratification was better than adultery. But of course, I was committing adultery in my heart! When a brother in Christ (fallible like me!) saw my vulnerability because of my marital problems, and nearly seduced me, it alarmed me because the flesh wanted so much to give in. Later I confessed the matter to my pastors and my husband, who forgave me, and I became desperate to be free from the mental porn I had accumulated, from the thing that interfered with my relationship with the Lord. The Holy Spirit was preparing the way, through sermons about giving up "hidden sins" (I knew they were not hidden from the Lord).There was an opportunity at church to go forward for prayer for deliverance, and so I did. I began to experience a breakthrough at that time -- and soon after, I was referred to the site Setting Captives Free. Through this Bible study course more light was shed on just what it is I was battling. I was especially smitten when I realized my self-gratification was spiritual adultery against my Lord Jesus who endured so much to save me! Through prayer I had been delivered, but through the course I had learned to walk in that liberty. The accountabilty, bringing everything to light, sharing that with my husband...the principles I learned here have been so valuable. I continued in freedom, going on to be a mentor,for about two years. After my husband passed away in 2011, I made a return mission trip to Peru. There a long-standing friendship blossomed into something more. I only had a few days with my new love, and wondered if we could take a short-cut to marriage. The Peruvian government only recognizes civil marriages, and I did not have any of the necessary documents for one. My fiance's father was a pastor, and I asked if we could at least be married in the eyes of the Lord in an informal ceremony, until the following year when I could return with all necessary documents to please the civil authorities. Eager to have his daughter-in-law, he agreed. So Levi and I consummated our committment. When I returned to the States, I let myself return to self-gratification, justifying it by saying that since we were apart, and my body was his, and his was mine, in his proxy I could gratify myself. (The improvement being that I fantasized of him alone) But God is too good to let me continue in self deception. When I returned, we discovered we STILL needed a couple of documents and could not have the civil ceremony. We still had relations, and I considered myself married to him in God's eyes, but finally Levi said we could not expect blessings if we did not do everything in order. Well, I returned, STILL unmarried, to the states, and occasionally gratified myself, but finally was convicted that if I was not really his wife, I needed to be restored to purity and put self-gratification out once and for all. I returned to the Purity course to help me break free again, reviewing the principles. I want to go back to the mentor course and help others too. No excuses! I have such overflowing gratitude and worship to the One Who set me free and through His grace brought me into closer fellowship with Him!
Friday, January 18, 2013
The subject of what we would do in the event of a sudden influx of money has entered my conversations lately. I had to face this kind of decision when my first husband passed away, and I had the insurance money. Well, we had a large credit debt, and the Bible says " the wicked borrow but do not repay"(Prov. 37:21) I don't want to be counted among the wicked, so it was an easy decision to get rid of THAT. The proverb also goes on to say "but the righteous give generously" And I do like to do this. Through my mission trips I have encountered a LOT of need. One could indebt oneself again trying to meet everyone's needs. BUT, that's not my job nor my calling. However, I AM called to visitation and encouragement. I already had funds for the airfare THERE, and what was left from the insurance helped to cover other incidental costs - giving of MYSELF. I would want to do more of this.
I have thought about things I'd like to do to the house. But as far as adding to my possessions - that's just not where my treasure is. I don't care for a lot of "stuff." I have a computer not because I want a computer and all the latest gadgets, but because it helps me "visit" vicariously and encourage from a distance. I value it for its intangible benefits. I don't have to have the latest and the greatest with all the whistles and beeps (my first husband acknowledged his love for shiney gadgets and fancy buttons, so he let ME choose, knowing I'd be more practical : the Frugal Scott!) It just has to work. And while I was never terribly materialistic before, upon coming to Christ my affections for "things of earth" fell off even more. I like clothes that fit and that let me work without having to worry about them. As such I am a total fashion washout. I can admire how other women dress, especially on Sundays at church or at restaurants. But it is so not ME. If I need to "dress up" I usually turn to my daughter for help. Gimme a pair of jeans, or maybe a denim skirt, and a cotton tee-shirt, and I'm good! I can't be worrying about "getting dirty."
And I certainly don't want to acquire more STUFF, because my hope is eventually to move to Peru and establish a permanent work there when traveling around by bus, "combi" (a modified minivan in which you cram as many people as you possibly can), motokar, "lancha" (large boat) or peque-peque (motorized canoe) gets too difficult for my old bones. (And through Spark I can delay that!) My father was a real packrat. He owned this house before me, and when he moved out, he left a lot of stuff - bicycle and tv parts, stuff I had NO idea what it was - and it's been a long time getting things cleared out of basement and attic. I don't want to do that to my kids, and I certainly don't want to be bothered when I'm finally ready to sell this house.
The best thing, I think, is to invest in the Kingdom of God. This could be in ways to extend it - supporting missions or missionaries; helping established ministries here or abroad; helping others fulfill their calling.
So "if I were a rich [woman]", I wouldn't be like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pl7BVr36bbs Some exercise equipment would be nice - not to have STUFF but because it would be strengthening this body " to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [me] to do."(Eph. 2:10) Some GOOD shoes, for my flat feet, so I can do the same...But I think I would want to save for more mission trips and eventually that permanent work.
After all, I'm just passing through here. Eventually all I have HERE will be dust. So, I want to lay up treasure that will last. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC617kE1maU "
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:19-21
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Not too long before my husband passed away, I talked to him about the possibility of a mission trip that summer. The concern is always having enough in the account for the summer bills, whether I go or not - mine is a ten month job. Usually the tax return gets us through and then some. I already had enough donations held by the church to pay for the airfare. Of course there were the concerns for my husband's health and medical expenses, but we'd seen God come through time and time again. And I was sensing the urging of the Holy Spirit that it was time to go. Still, I didn't want to just cut and run. If my husband preferred me to stay home because of how he was feeling, I was willing. And I was submitted.
Well, the same man who a few years ago had told me he was proud of what I did when our senior pastor accompanied me, glad that the pastor could see me in action, so to speak, this time said to me, "I think you're obsessed." It took me aback. I told him I did not agree, BUT, I was willing to go to our pastors to get an objective look at this. I told him I was submitted to his authority and would stay, but I was pretty sure that I had a CALLING, and if I did not go again while he lived, I would answer the call after he passed away.
We never ended up going to the pastors - the Lord called him home. I DID bring the matter before them - and they were in agreement with me, as long as I met other financial obligations such as the credit debt that had risen largely due to his health issues This I was able to do from the insurance I went that year..and unexpectedly reconnected with Levi.
I still long to return. I love to share about Christ, whether it's from a church pulpit, or in a home. But I know I have something else to do this year, which is get this hip taken care of. And I know that wherever I am, whatever I do - whether working at the school, "driving Miss Daisy," or recovering from hip surgery - I'll be following hard after the Lord.
HE is my obsession, "the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc."(from dictionary.com). And He is magnificent! www.youtube.com/watch?v=cel_O-qy0i0
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
It took a while before we got a PC. My son was a senior in high school and he'd gotten a scholarship for ONE evening class at the University of Rochester. And the assignments were given online. Soooooo...we had to get a computer. Oh, I recall my Dad had one and we used to play silly little games like popcorn and try some of the computer drawing, but we didn't have internet, and had no practical use for it. But when we got this one for my son, he got me set up with my hotmail account, which I STILL have, and I have gradually increased my variety of usage of the thing (of course we no longer have the original - I think this may be our third or fourth, I forget.) I've made videos, especially about my missionary work - if this is the first time you're reading one of my blogs, here's a "f'rinstance" -
I've played around and made drawings and powerpoints. And i do a LOT of communication via my two email accounts and of course facebook - and SPARK is one of the main sites I use!
In all this I am way ahead of Levi, technologically. He just doesn't "do" internet. I mostly chat with his nieces online.
But HE has been ahead of ME in another area of technology. Until TONIGHT. I finally got a cellphone.
Mind you, it's for emergencies only. I don't like using a landline except when absolutley necessary. Same with cell phone. So I'm okay now, if the car breaks down. Or something like that. It's very basic, a Tracphone, with big number buttons so I can hit ONE AT A TIME. I will not text because I am persnickety about writing everything out. I do NOT "LOL" - I teehee, hehehehe, hahahaha, and PAHAHAHAHA. (or JAJAJAJA if in Spanish) No one has to worry about me smashing into them from texting while driving, like someone nearly did to ME.
And I got a "year's" worth of minutes, which were doubled on this deal, and they roll over, so, it should probably last...oh, three or four years! Maybe until I feel confident enough with this new bit of technology, and can go on to something fancier. But for now, folks should be glad I have a cell for emergencies.
Although God has always been easily available at no charge. Well...only the cost of His Son...
Monday, January 14, 2013
So today was the blood drive at school. I'm not super busy in my present assignment, and my friend who started teaching at my school this year had enlisted my help in the previous blood drive, so she asked me again this time. I can't give blood any more, having been to a "malarial" country, but I can at least do this!
I don't do MUCH. In fact I think my main purpose is to make sure the student volunteers (they get community service credits for their PIG classes) don't consume the snacks and drinks that are supposed to be for the donors.
I brought my writing materials and finished the packet of letters to folks at Pastor Gregorio's church, Manantial de Vida, in Villa el Salvador. The kids talked among themselves, and things were just regular, till about the last half hour, forty-five minutes. The girl next to me and I struck a little conversation. When she knew I wrote Spanish she asked in Spanish if I was Puerto Rican (with an understandably doubtful look in her eye) and I answered in Spanish, giving her the background of myparents' divorce and Dad's remarriage to a Puerto Rican lawyer, ya-da ya-da. In the course of the conversation I explained about all my writing (she had commented, "Miss, you like to write, don't you?") and also about my engagement to Levi. When it dawned on her that he was still in Peru, she gasped and said, "You're in a long-distance relationship TOO!" So we started talking about this. I told her about my younger daughter who'd met someone online, run off just shy of her 17th birthday to meet him in person, got caught, brought back, he drove up (from Texas to New York, 24 hours straight!)...The girl said she is SIXTEEN, and wants to do the same, to go meet her guy face-to-face (but at least HE'S only in PENNSYLVANIA!) I urged her not to do this but to wait. And I got to thinking, hm, I've been wanting to go visit my sis in MD , maybe during Spring Break, since I haven't seen her since Mom passed away. (Learned this girl's mom ALSO passed away.) I said I COULD feasibly take her down with me, with her father's permission, as chaperone to meet this young man and if she was willing to spring for a motel we could stay a couple of days and then maybe go on together to my sister's and go to DC (about an hour away) for some sites before heading back. So...This is all a MAYBE, of course, but it's so fun how God hooks people up who, on the surface may look like they have nothing in common, but makes these connections...Even if we DON'T pull off such a road trip, we are friending each other on facebook, and she'll be another prayer target. And I don't know if she has a step-mom, or an important influential adult female in her life (like an aunty or grandma) but hey - "Here I am, Lord".
Yeah. Helping with the blood drive.
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