Sunday, October 2, 2011

Musings on Sacrifice

We observed the Lord’s Supper this morning in church and I got to thinking about sacrifice. Jesus paid the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. I think because we don’t have to sacrifice any more, we miss the significance of His sacrifice.
In Old Testament times, each person had to offer a sacrifice for his/her sins. There was a schedule of sins and the required sacrifice. Most times it was an animal sacrifice and the animal died. The animal (let’s use lamb for our example) was not one that was sick or lame. It had to be a PERFECT lamb. The best of the flock.
If you were a storekeeper and didn’t keep sheep, you could buy a lamb. But not from a discount store and there were no Lamb Coupons. You had to purchase a perfect spotless lamb and those didn’t come cheap.
So when you brought your own spotless lamb or the spotless lamb that you had paid your hard-earned cash for, what happened to than animal? It was sacrificed….for your sins. It died! And most of the time, the offerer did the sacrificing. So not only did you bring your perfect, spotless lamb to the altar, you had to the one to kill it. And it died not because of its sins. No, it was blameless. It died for your sins.
However, when Jesus came, He was the Lamb of God. He gave His life and died, for our sins. We no longer have to bring a lamb to the altar. We no longer have to buy a lamb to sacrifice. We no longer have to slay the lamb to atone for our sins.
Sin was a serious matter in the Old Testament. It had to be atoned for by blood. “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission for sin.” Heb. 9:22. Sin could not be overlooked or forgotten. The cleansing of sin took the sacrifice (death) of an animal (and probably not a willing animal at that!)
But Christ willingly was our sacrifice and laid down His life, so that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins, be reconciled to God and be saved.
But Christ’s sacrifice has to be received. We have to accept Christ and thereby Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. It’s a free gift but we must accept it. Just like the Christmas gift under the tree with our name on it. It’s there. It has our name on it. But it doesn’t become ours until we take it and receive it.
The Old Testament required a sacrifice and if the sacrifice wasn’t done, the person’s sins weren’t forgiven. We have to accept Christ’s payment (sacrifice) for our sins or our sins aren’t forgiven.
Heb. 2:2 says “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
Simply put, we won’t. If we neglect so great a salvation, if we don’t accept Christ and His sacrifice for our sins, we are still in our sins and there is no forgiveness and if there is no forgiveness, there is no escape.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Over the Top - Dallas Event - Women of Faith

Over The Top

I am so excited to be going to the Women of Faith Conference in Dallas this year. I have been going to Women of Faith for many years. I started out going with my daughter. Then we started getting a group together from our church. We rent a van and stay in a beautiful hotel. We have a couple of husbands who willingly put up with a lot of talkative women and they chauffeur to all the sessions. This year I'm looking forward to having my daughter-in-law fly in from Tennessee to go with us.

Can't say enough about Women of Faith. All of the speakers are excellent. I look forward to it all year long. I am a member and receive devotionals and other information all year long.

God uses women of Fait h in so many ways to touch so many lives.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

God's Grace

Must tell this. The weekend before we left I broke a filling (I thought it was a tooth) Went to dentist on Monday and she fixed the filling but said it was possible the tooth was cracked and if I had problems to chew on the other side. Not exactly what you want to hear when going halfway round the world. Everything was fine. On Monday in Joburg, we went to visit with the pastor's family we knew and the tooth began to throb a bit. At the end of the evening, when we prayed, I mentioned my tooth and prayed that it would not be a problem while we were in Mautirius. The tooth never throbbed or gave me any other trouble! Praise the Lord!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Back in Johannesburg

We are now back in Johannesburg. It is rainy and cool!!! We had pizza yesterday for lunch! YUM!!! We will do some traveling to Kruger to see the wildlife and see some of the other sites around here and then head home Monday evening.

First Lay Renewal Weekend

Our first Lay Renewal was at the Baptist Church of the North (BCN) in Grand Bay. We were staying in Blue Bay at the south end of the island and Grand Bay is at the north end of the island. We dropped a team off at Curepipe (Curepeep) and a team off at Goodlands.
The weekend began on Friday night with a dinner. At BCN we ate standing up in the Courtyard. We were on a tropical island which interpreted means hot and humid or hotter and humid or hot and humider. You get the idea. Needless to say we sweat a LOT!
Friday night consisted of singing, testimony, teaching and small groups where the church people got a chance to share what they expected for the weekend, what the teaching meant to them and other questions intended to draw them out and make them think about their spiritual life. Ben and I, being newbies, were prayer partners to the ones leading the group session. The people were very good at sharing so we didn’t end up staring at one another.
Saturday morning we had coffees in the homes. The coffee group I was in shared very openly about their struggles, prayer requests, answered prayers, etc. Then it was back to the church for lunch. (When we had a break, I would tell people “’Til we eat again”) J After lunch the men and women broke into groups to share. The ladies’ group talked about women’s ministry and we were very surprised when several women spoke of their ministry (prison, after-school) that the other women were not aware of. Several women told others they would like to get involved. They need an organizer! At the closing prayer, I thanked God that these women had outreach ministry but I prayed that God would put it upon some hearts for “inreach” so the ladies could meet together to pray, talk, encourage and inspire one another.
Saturday night we had singing, testimonies, teaching and small groups. In these small groups, we asked people to share the time they first gave their hearts to Christ. We asked them to think about what they had heard in the teaching and about their commitment to Christ. We all then wrote a letter to Jesus. That was something new to me but was very meaningful. I think that is something we should do from time to time.
Sunday morning was the Sunday worship, teaching and a time of commitment. Many people came for prayer, recommitment, salvation.
After church we were to leave at 1:00 to reverse course, pick up the other teams and return to Blue Bay. However, one of our hosts wanted to have our team for lunch and they prevailed upon our leader to postpone our departure until 3:30. We had a lovely lunch in an outside dining area overlooking the ocean.
Let me just interject here that when I say we took a van and dropped off the teams, it was a 23-24 passenger van. We were a total of 20 people PLUS luggage. We were able to take one suitcase per couple with just the things we needed for the weekend. That luggage plus any small carry-ons went WITH us inside the van (Did I mention the van was un-air-conditioned?)
We Americans are so used to our creature comforts. We had no air-conditioning in rooms, churches,or vans.

Second Lay Renewal Weekend

BCN was an English speaking church. Most of the people were white. The church was very much like a church we are accustomed to.
Victory Baptist Church in Rose Belle was a local church meeting in a converted house. It was filled with locals who were black or Indian, spoke French and Creole, knew some English (understood it better than they spoke it) so there was interpretation both from English to French and French to English.
These people were the most loving, energetic, outgoing Christians. In BCN there was some of the double-cheek kissing the French are known for but these people did it all the time. Didn’t take long to get used to this. Women with women, men with women. Actually a nice custom.
We (they) sang in English, French and Creole. This church did have an air-conditioner (Praise the Lord) that kept the church at least comfortable. However, the chairs were MOST uncomfortable. Folding chairs with seats that were, pardon the expression, straight as a board, with straight backs as well.
Small groups were wonderful. The people were very gracious about having the interpretation done.
This weekend was a repeat of the first weekend but I LOVED being in this church. I am very thankful that I had my first Lay Renewal in the English speaking church so I could see how the Lay Renewal was done. But being in the local church gave such a rich flavor to the experience.
I know I was touched by these people and the Lord definitely had several things to say to me through them and through the teaching and we can only pray that their lives were touched as well.
It is impossible in a blog to relate all the wonderful interactions, testimonies, worship and sharing that we experienced in these weekends..

Blue Bay Accommodations

Our accommodations outside the Lay Renewal weekends (when we were housed by the church people) were in a complex of when we could call condos. We had three of these. #1 housed our leader and his wife and the two single men. This unit was also our meeting room and eating room. Unit #2 housed us, the Wise’s and the Westbrookes. Unit #3 housed two couples and six single women. The six women were all in ONE room with three double beds. I believe they were somewhat dismayed at the prospect but in the end had a joyous time and as you can imagine bonded!! We heard a lot of hilarity coming from their room!
Our unit had the bedrooms on the 2nd floor with a bath. You stepped through the shower to get to the toilet - interesting arrangement. Downstairs there was a separate toilet and shower (we mostly used that one) J With our windows open and the ceiling fan going full force, we were quite comfortable at night and slept well.
A local pastor, Kandan and his wife, Padmini did all the cooking for us while we were there.
Our plane was to arrive at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday but was delayed for almost two hours - then we had to do passport control which took f-o-r-e-v-e-r and Health control (to see if we had been anywhere where there was disease we might be bringing in), get our luggage, get in the van (they did have a van for the people and a van for the luggage) and get to the complex. Of course, they had dinner waiting for us… 11:00 at night.
Dinner was Briyani, apparently a favorite dish, because everywhere we went we had it, again and again. Chicken, rice, veggies and curry - plus they served you and piled the plates high *sigh* We got all the curry we wanted when we were in India but we got some more this weekend. We were able to get them to cut the portions down to a two-person size as opposed to a four-person size. J We were then assigned rooms and quickly fell into bed.
Wednesday was a day of rest. Thursday, we met to go over the plan for the weekend. There was some shopping at a market and supermarket. I never experienced the local bus ride but those who did had harrowing tales to tell. J
Then Friday we all left for our Lay Renewal weekends.
Sunday night we were all back at the complex for several days. This was a wonderful time as we ate together, had devotions together, shared testimonies, swam together, shopped together, laughed a lot together. It was a wonderful bonding time with people from all over South Africa, New Mexico, Arizona and of course Texas! J
We did swim in the Indian Ocean several times. Well, “swim” means we walked around in water chest high or so while we visited, talked, talked and visited. At many points we were “swimming with the fishes”.

Weekend Accommodations

Some didn’t have the luxurious accommodations we did. Our first weekend, we stayed with a couple that had a beautiful home right on the water. We were on the second story and had the most beautiful view. They also had an air conditioner in the room. We used it the first night and Ben had to turn it off in the middle of the night because we were cold. I was talking with a lady who was at another church and when I said we were cold, I got a withering look and said “Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have said that, should I?” J

Our second weekend, we were also on the second story. We stayed in the apartment of the son of the couple living downstairs. The son now lives in England. The apartment was very sparse on furniture but did have a bedroom, large kitchen and large bathroom that we didn’t have to share. J

Several people got various bug bites and while I had a few spots, none ever gave me any trouble and by sleeping under fans, the mosquitoes won’t land. There is no problem with malaria in Mauritius.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Worship services are much like ours. Praise team - words on screen. Nice building - two flats together rented from a muslim who lives in London and knows it is being used for Baptist church. Pastor's family lives upstairs and some church meetings held there too. Pastor and wife came 3 months ago from South Africa on occupational visa for 3 months. Hoped to get a permanent occupation vise because they are counselors but they were refused for vairous reasons but mainly because they are from South Africa. Hindus are in the majority politically and are feeling threatened by Christians converting Hindus. Christians are a small majority behind Hindus, Muslims, Catholic but when Hindus convert to Christianity they lose political base. So the pastor and wife had to leave Saturday at 1:00 (during the Lay Renewal weekend!) because their appeals were denied. I think they will now try to get a religious visa good for one year but has to be renewed every year which they were hoping to avoid with the occupational visa. God has a plan!!

Women met and it was amazing that there was so much ministry going on by different women that the other women in the church were unaware of. Prison, children, bookstore. They need to get sood discussion and notices of different ministries so other women can get involved. They have good outreach - they need some "inreach" where the ladies can gather and talk, get to know one another, pray for one another and encourage each other. Prayerfully God has put that desire in one or more hearts.

I'm sure Frank will keep us informed of what happens in the churches after these weekends.

Marc and Susannah our hosts come to America once a year. Susannah is American from Maryland. Hopefully we can contact them while they arein America and keep up with what's going on in their lives, the church and their school.


obioiusly different here. On island lots of rice with various sauces. Don't eat a whole lot because it is so hot. Brianni (sp) seems to be rice, spices, chicken and potato. We had meat and rice once. Pasta with a tomato corned beef sauce - actually pretty good. We went to the store to buy cereal. To the open air market for fruit and makings for salad. (I did find two t-shirts at one market and we are probably going to another one or two before we leave) Marilyn, local worker, will be at the church I am going to next week. We talked about tea and she said she would take us shopping during our free time nex Saturday. What woman turns down shopping? We did have some sandwiches and pound cake last night. They drink a lot of tea - hot even when weather is hot. But if you like hot tea you have to drink in hot weather! LOL We drink lots of bottled water. Water OK for brushing teeth but not for drinking. That's about our experience so far with food.

They don't want us to leave

We were scheduled to leave at 1:00 or 1:30 Sunday. Marc, our host, had invited us to take a ride on their boat. They have started a Christian school so we toured it and didn't have enough time for the ride. They asked about Sunday afternoon and when we told them when were leaving, they said "Why so early?" Susannah said they have a van and driver that could take us to Blue Bay later. Betty and Pete are staying next door with Marc's mother and are included in this offer. We told her she would have to talk to Frank, our leader, and I thought "Good Luck!" because he runs a tight ship. I saw them talking together tonight but later she told me they had arranged a later time to leave - 3:00. The interesting part is - the whole team is to have dinner at Marc's mother's home after church so are we ALL staying and leaving in the van at 3:00 or is the rest of the team leaving at 1:00 and WE are staying until 3:00. The trick is that the other teams will be waiting to be picked up. BNC 1:00-Goodlands 1:30 and Curepipe 3:00. If we ALL leave at 3:00 that means Curepipe will not be picked up until 5:00 (could be sooner because it is Sunday and traffic will be lighter than Friday's traffic. We'll see. Next installment won't come for a while. Earliest - next weekend. Latest. April 4.

I must say I am amazed at how close we have come to these Brothers and Sisters in Christ in just 24 hours or so!! They have become our friends. We have shared with them, eaten with them and grown to care for them. What a bond we have in the Body of Christ. What a great thing it will be in Heaven when we never have to say Goodbye again!!

Suffering for the Lord in Mautirius

Right now I am sitting in our room looking out on the Indian Ocean. I wish I could say I was sitting on the veranda but I can't see the screen out there. :-) We are staying this weekend in a beautiful home right on the beach. And we have A/C at night! Praise the Lord. This is a tropical island, i.e. hot and humid. We only brought what we needed for the weekend so I don't have my connection to upload pictures but you can imagine the most beautiful view of the ocean with tropical breezes blowing.

Now Blue Bay is a different story. No A/C. bu t still hot and did I mention it is humid? At night there is a big fan blowing with open windows which keeps up actually very comfortable at night. In the daytime, we sweat and sweat and sweat some more. And who really wants to eat in hot weather. I'm hoping to drop a few pounds albeit involuntarily.

The 20 of us are from America and South Africa. It has been amazing to get to know these wonderful people who love the Lord and have such wonderful testimonies. We talk and talk and talk - a lot of time while basking in the cool waters on the beach. I will tell you the we do have flush toilets (one on each floor) and two showers that do the job but after 10 minutes you feel as if you need another one.

You would not make money opening a cosmetic store here - makeup does not last. So obvioiusly I am in my element! And clothing is loose and comfortable. Sandals is the shoewear of the day.

OK, we flew to Atlanta then to Johannesburg. Spent two days in Joburg. Flew to Mauritius on Tuesday. Wed-Friday morning, we spent getting to know one another and getting used to the climate although I'm not sure you can really do that.

Friday we left at 1:00. 20 people in a rented van WITH luggage. Can you say tight fit. (Did I mention it was also hot and humid?) While we were moving it was tolerable. We dropped off the first team in Curepipe (cure-peep), the second group in Goodlands and we came to the Baptist Church of the North. Sunday afternoon we will reverse the process and go back to Blue Bay (boo!) :-) I could live here! :-)

The people here are very gracious. We have had three meeting of Lay Renewal. Friday evening, Saturday morning coffee and women's/men's meetings after lunch. We had a free afternoon but our hosts have started a Christian school about 3 years ago which started with one child (their own) and has now grown to 60 children - grades 1-3. Our speaker is an architect who designs schools. What a coincidence!! LOL Does God direct our steps or what? So we took a tour of the school.

When we came back to the house, I turned on the netbook intending to catch up on my notes but found the wireless connection so of course, I would post instead. :-)

God is doing such a work here in this church and I pray the same is happening in the other churches. I know the bus will be a-buzz on the way back to B lue Bay as everyone wants to share about what God did in their church. Fortunately the BNC speaks English so we do not have to have an interpreter.

We will have three different teams in three different churches next week and we may have to have interpreters there. That will be an entirely new experience. I'm glad God is breaking us in easily this week.

The people are very open to share their needs, their testimonies, their concerns. I know God is going to bless this wonderful people.

I could probably say more and perhaps I will post again tonight or tomorrow. They keep us pretty busy. I only have about 20 minutes before we are picked up for the evening meal and tonight's session.

Please continue to remember us in prayer that we remain healthy and without accident. Also that God will continue to bless us and the people here. There is soooo much more to say but it will have to wait. Besides, you're probably tired of reading.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Safe and Sound in Joburg

We arrived safe and sound in Joburg. Having a great time visiting with Frank and Joy (our hosts) Had a great night's sleep and are just about acclimated to the change. We are 7 hours ahead of you and on Mauritius will be 9 hours ahead. We are having a bbq at noon and meeting the other Americans on the team. We met George last night who is a converted Muslim. Had a great conversation last night at dinner with him. We leave for Mauritius tomorrow and will be there until April 4. Please continue to pray for our teams, for the churches and their people. I am hopeful I will have some type of internet access (either wireless of Internet Cafe) where I can post from there. We will face some spiritual warfare there so we cover your prayers. It was raining last night but is a beautiful sunny, warm day here today.
Have to mention that we were about 30 min late taking off from Atlanta because they had to check every non-South African passport which took forever. Then getting on the plane they scanned our passport and ticket and mine set off the alarm. Took a few minutes to get it straightened out but all was well. We both had aisle seats but there was an empty seat next to Ben and the woman at the window seat wanted an aisle seat so we switched and I was able to stretch out more and even curl up to sleep. God is good!!!