Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Have you contemplated much the word surrender?
Well, as our time to leave draws closer, this word keeps coming into my thoughts. My heart is so often drawn to the things of this world; Grandchildren, and my children, friends who are more like Sisters, fall temperatures and colors. And yet as I was reading in Matthew 8:18-22 this morning I was once again counting the cost of following Jesus. Right there in the first verse Jesus says "go". And then the scribe says "I will follow". And then a disciple says "Lord, let me first ..." Well, my heart is most always like the disciple's heart. Each morning, it's surrendering again my life to "go, follow" where ever God leads. And then of course the clincher is Jesus saying "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead." Jesus is asking me to surrender to Him, to give Him my first allegiance over the things of this world, even Grandchildren, children, sisters and the comforts of home. I hear strongly His calling but I must confess my flesh (SELF) often gets in the way. My heart is often torn as I think of one of my dear sisters whose husband is going to Afghanistan for a year, and another precious sister who is just pregnant, oh how I would love to be here for the birth and to help her. And yet Jesus says "follow and go". So each morning it's a new surrender of my life. The things of this earth won't matter in eternity. The comforts that we enjoy here will be nothing compared to Heaven. Can I surrender? Can I trust Jesus? Can I believe in faith that He knows best for me? Well, it's only His grace that equips me to do His bidding. And I am so often reminded of how abundant His grace was during our last term and that He will supply it abundantly this term as well, but not in advance, only as I need it. So, what a sweet peace there is to surrender, to laying my life in His hands to do with as He sees fit. I know He'll take care of those Grandkids, Lindsey, my sisters, He doesn't need me in the least in any of their lives. He only wants me to surrender a greater allegiance to Him than to the things of this world. He wants command of my life and total surrender, and Jesus doesn't like to share that with the pulls of my heart. What a joy it is to give it all to Him in faith trusting Him and only Him and then I am more able and willing to :go", to "follow" and to drop the "let me first". Oh isn't He worth total surrender of my life? I so often focus on my own life and SELF, SELF, SELF and it only takes a quick glimpse at Jesus's willingness to come to earth and leave His Kingship for me, His willingness to suffer in so many ways for me and then of course His willingness to die that awful death on the cross for me, His willingness to be separated from His Father, total separation when He had known only being a part of the Trinity with God and the Holy Spirit, and then His willingness to bear God's wrath for my sins, which I deserve, upon Himself.
Will you ponder this word "surrender" in your own life with me? Maybe there is something that you are holding onto too tightly. Maybe there is something that is dividing your heart as mine is so often divided. Maybe the comforts and "stuff" of this world are pulling your heart. He only wants you and your total unconditional surrender and He will take care of the rest. The picture may not be exactly as we would have painted but it will be even better and more glorious if we allow Him to carry the masterpiece to completion as we daily surrender to Him!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ordination Pics

Wyatt munching on some cheese puffs at the ordination.

Raney being spoiled by everyone there! How many cookies did she really have?! :)

Chad's friend, Rev. Christopher Thomas, who came from Texas to be a part of Chad's ordination.

Another of Chad's friends, Rev. Elbert McGowan, RUF Minister @ Jackson State and Redeemer, PCA Hall of Famer.

A proud Granna with her two precious grandbabies!

To Glorify God

Recently I have been pondering (I am a ponderer) glorifying God. I long to glorify God with my life but what does that look like?
This morning I was reading a well know passage in Matthew 7: 21-23 - "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' and then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
I confess that I am guilty often of skimming right through these well known passages but the Holy Spirit caught my attention this morning. "Lord, Lord", these double words denoting intimacy. But God quickly convicted me that He doesn't desire my empty words of the Christian walk, or my words of empty intimacy to Him or others. He doesn't desire to hear my saying what sounds good to Him or others or my saying I know Him. God also showed me that He doesn't desire my "doing works in His name" mighty works or simple works. He doesn't desire my doing, doing, doing. And I must say that with my task oriented brain my focus is most always doing, doing, doing.
But Praise God that He didn't just leave me there with the don'ts but He began to show me what He does desire. He desires me to "do His will". Whew, that's a tall order but what is He saying to me? I found myself realizing that in order "to do His will" I must know His will. This requires spending time in His Word to know what His will is for me. And then even when I read and know His will for me, do I want to do it? Doing requires obedience. And I am so much more prone to be obedient to SELF than I am to God and His Word. I often just allow SELF to react and I felt very convicted that I need to stop and think, what would God have me to do in any given situation instead of just reacting.
And then last and probably the most important, God wants me to "know Him". This of course ties in with knowing His will, His word but He wants me to KNOW HIM. He desires genuine intimacy with me (this raises up all kinds of feelings of gratitude, because I am not worthy at all of intimacy with the Lord of our universe). But pushing on, He showed me that knowing Him doesn't work too well with my task oriented doing, doing, doing. I was humbled to catch a glimpse of my life and how easily I focus on doing, accomplishing, marking off those tasks, and yet do I make it a priority to KNOW HIM which requires spending time with HIM. I was convicted of how I allow my day to dictate my life, what needs to be done and I don't focus on KNOWING HIM. Oh how I need to make more time for HIM first, scrap the list of do's and the loud nudges of this world. And then my heart jumped for joy, I see it God, these 2 ways are how I glorify YOU! Of course, no 10 easy steps to do this will work, it remains all about God and His grace and the power of Jesus's blood. But I am called to make progress and how can I make progress without knowing and attempting? I thank God for opening my eyes as I have been asking Him to show me what does that glorifying Him looks like. Oh His faithfulness to me if far and above my faithfulness and focus on Him.

Ordination...Rev. Chad Scott

As soon as we got an inclination, while in the Philippines, that we were coming home to make the switch to become Career Missionaries, I began to think about Chad (our son's) upcoming ordination. It was heavy on my heart so, I began to pray or plead might even be a better word with the Lord; even while we were still in the Philippines. I wanted to attend his graduation form Reformed Theological Seminary but deeply longed to be present for the ordination even more than the graduation. And I couldn't see how it could possibly work. Our plans were to return to the Philippines hopefully in March through May of 2008. Never in a million years did I dream that we would still be in the States in November 2008. Is this why our funding hasn't all come in, because of my prayers? I certainly will never know that answer until I get to Heaven, but I was overwhelmed with PRAISE as we attended the ordination of our son Chad Sunday night, September 14, 2008. I had to almost pinch myself because I was in the clouds and was reminded of God saying "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
It was a beautiful ceremony! I made it about half way though and then the tears of gratitude began. Why God did you "first love me"? Why God did you allow me to hear your invitation to "come" when most of my family is unchurched? "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29 And God, not only have You chosen me to be your child but you have chosen our daughter and our son and Kelly my precious daughter in law to be your children as well. And then the realization hit me that Chad was being ordained as a minister of God's word! All I could do was cry tears of gratitude to God for His love, mercy and grace when I am so undeserving of it all!
One of my favorite parts of a church service is the benediction. I love those blessings from the Lord and our Pastor, John Reeves, taught us to hold open our hands to receive those blessings from God. I could
only stand with my hands open and sob as Chad pronounced his very first benediction at the end of his ordination ceremony! My heart just broke loose as I sat down after receiving that benediction and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed some more tears of gratitude to God for what He has done in our lives and for me being able to be hear and receive that very first benediction from my very own son. It was truly a moment in my life that I will never ever forget. I deserve nothing but an eternity in hell, separated from God because of my sins and the depravity in my heart. I was so humbled that God would see fit to bless me and my family far above anything I could ever ask or imagine!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Roller Coaster Days

These last few months have been a roller coaster ride for us. One day it's a great day of vision and planning concerning ministry when we return to our field of ministry. We get so excited that we can hardly contain ourselves.
And the next day it's bad news about the financial institutions in America and then it's getting word that we can't make a plane reservation until we have 100 % pledged.
While we are so close sometimes it seems so far away. We only need $766.28 pledged per month to return.
This morning we were reading in Matthew 6 - "Do NOT be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink." But "seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness" and then "do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself."
Would you please pray for us that we would trust in God's knowledge and care. Please pray that we will not be distracted, not allow our emotions to race up the hill and down in the valley but that we will rest in the goodness and sovereignty of God.
Thank you so much for lifting us up in prayer!

God's Grace Even in Loss

Each day this week the number of hummingbirds at the feeders are less and less. I often think about how far they fly and how are they able to do it and am quickly enamored by God's sustaining grace!
And yet the other day as I went outside to get a box, there laying on my little back porch was a precious little hummingbird. His beak was down in between the wooden slats and his breathing was labored. Steven picked him up and set his whole body on one of the boards but it wasn't long until he died.
How could I be sad when God had supplied such an amazing spectacle of hummingbirds birds for me the past few weeks? And yet, I was sad because this tiny little bird didn't make it. I picked him up and stroked his small body and unfortunately his neck was pretty wiggly (as if broken) and yet we didn't hear him run into the glass. He was incredibly beautiful and so small and my heart welled up with praise to our Creator God.
I was reminded how short life really is and yet, how many opportunities that we have to encourage others just as this tiny bird and his friends have so encouraged me.

Please Pray

As we continue to focus on returning to the Philippines, would you please pray for us?

Pray for God's grace to help us to believe and rely on the Holy Spirit's help, comfort and encouragement.

Pray for God's grace to allow us to self-consciously make glorifying HIM our anchor and motivation for what we are doing and to realize it's the ONLY anchor and motivation worth having!!!!!


Dearest Prayer Partners:
Have you ever felt that God is showing you how much He loves you? Well, God has been doing just that in my (Deborah's) life over the past 2 weeks. As you may recall, I love to watch birds and there just aren't many birds in the Philippines, other than the wren types. So, all summer we have been able to watch 3 hummingbirds at our feeder. They must be preparing to fly south because the last 2 weeks they have been in a feeding frenzy. We have counted up to 13 at one time! My heart has been overwhelmed with praise that the God of our universe would take time, through such a small thing, to woo my heart and capture my love as only He can do! Just as we are about to leave the country and hummingbirds, God has brought more hummingbirds to feed than I have ever seen, our 2 feeders are literally covered. I find it quiet amazing that God provides such sweet expressions of His love in ways that I had not even asked or imagined. My heart praises the Lord that He is the same faithful lover of our souls, yesterday, today and forever as He Himself proclaimed to Moses on Mt Sinai in Deut. 34:6-7 "The Lord, The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands." We are so excited!!! Praise the Lord, we are at 91 percent and will be returning to the Philippines right after Thanksgiving! We have received from MTW our departure list of "things to do before we leave" and have feverishly begun working on it. So, would you continue to pray for that 8 percent which we need to be pledged before the middle of November to come in quickly? Also, would you begin to pray for a house in the Philippines that feels like home? We desire to rent a small, furnished house so that we don't collect more stuff and they can be a challenge to find in the Philippines. Please pray as well for the power of the Holy Spirit to go before us as we can't wait to begin ministering again among the Filipinos. We are also reminded of God's faithfulness to give us the desires of our hearts as we will witness the ordination of our son Chad Sunday night! We have been praying for God to allow us to be "in country" to be able to attend this once in a lifetime event for 2 years. Once again our hearts are "filled up" (as our Grandson Wyatt says) with praise for God's blessings to us!
Thank you again and again for your faithful prayers for us and God's ministry in the Philippines.
Steven and Deborah