Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Best News of All

If you have been a believer for any span of time, chances are you know that Easter has nothing to do with bunnies, eggs, or even chocolate. Many of us nod our heads and say "Yes, yes, I know, of course not" but do we really understand the gravity of why we celebrate this day?


Can you imagine being completely innocent and blameless, yet sacrificing your life to save someone who doesn't deserve it? God sent His son to this broken Earth and He died on the cross so that we may have a chance to live forever in the light and warmth of the Lord, even though we are full of sin and turn our backs on Him daily.
"Everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:15-17 
Close your eyes, still your heart, and imagine this: You are Barabbas. You sit in a prison cell, head hung low, guilty and awaiting the punishment for what you have done. You are hopeless and no one can help you now.
"A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising."  Mark 15:7
Jesus Christ walks in to your cell, tells the guards "This man is innocent, take me instead" and you are free.

You. Are. Free.


Christ died so that you could be free. What a reason to celebrate! Not only did Jesus sacrifice his own sinless life for your sin-filled one, but He also made it so that when you believe what Christ did for you and you stand before God on Judgement Day, He sees nothing but Jesus. Jesus takes your "sin card", erases your name and write His own.  But He doesn't stop there!  He then takes His "sin card" which is completely blank, erases his name, and writes yours in its place.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
"With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved.  Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous low-lying black cloud.  A new power is in operation.  The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2 (MSG)

No matter how many different ways you say it, the truth is clear.  And what a beautiful and powerful truth it is! Rejoice in your freedom this Easter Sunday, whether you are by yourself or with your family, and take some time to still your heart and mind enough to soak in the magnitude of what has been done for you. 

Thank you Lord for your sacrifice and for your great mercy and love!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March Update: Home (And Life!) Improvement

This month several important projects were completed that have helped make things just a little bit easier around here.  Some of the tasks of daily living that we take for granted in the states are more of a struggle in rural Costa Rica.  The first project was the water tank.

The Water Tank

The purpose of the water tank is to have the water from the house flow through the tank and then back into the house. This keeps fresh water flowing at all times which is important for everyday tasks.  First we dug a trench from the tank above the carport all the way to the house and then buried the pipe that carries the water. This project has been extensive but it feels so good to have a water supply in case of an emergency!
The water tank stand
The trench for the pipes!
The tank!

 The Wall & Fence 

The new wall and fence we have been working on have made such a difference!  Before these structures were built, when it rained or the neighbors did their laundry the dirt and water would come down and fill the driveway with mud.  Now that the wall is complete, the mud problem is gone as well as the mold. 
The heavy rains in Costa Rica brought a steady, muddy river flowing down the driveway.  Keeping muddy tracks out of the house was an endless battle!
Hard at work!
Finished wall, now for the fence!
Another bonus of the wall is privacy!  Before, the neighbors window and wash area was right above Cailene’s kitchen door so they were always peeking in on her and she did not feel like she could be in kitchen without eyes checking on what she was doing, cooking, eating, and wearing. Now she can do her household chores in peace.

The finished product! Water tank, wall, and fence.
Many people around our neighborhood choose to burn their garbage, which is not a good habit because it affects everyone around them.  Even though Cailene and Cornelio have offered to let others put their garbage with theirs to be removed on garbage day, at no cost to them, they prefer to burn their garbage, plastic, diapers, and whatever else they want. They tend to choose to burn on the day Cailene has just finished hanging her clothes on the clothes line so the essence of burnt plastic seeps into the freshly hung clothes. This new fence makes the smoke go up and over the clothes line. 
Thank you Jesus for the small things that make life enjoyable!  The peacefulness and privacy that the new structures have provided have been such a blessing because everyone benefits.
Last week there was a huge wind storm and the power was out for 2 days.  A lot of damage was done. Roofs were completely ripped off and some houses were blown over. We are so thankful that nothing happened to us. The wall and fence blocked a lot of that wind. 

Diving Into Scripture

All of this positive change is a reminder that God is good all the time! He is also ALWAYS at work, orchestrating even the small minute by minute details of our lives! Romans 8:28 ALWAYS applies!
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28
A lesson we have been learning this month is that things don't always go the way we want or expect them to.  The trick is to be flexible and trust that God has His hands firmly on our lives and He will not steer us off course.
"In His heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9
 Thank you all for your continued love, support and prayers.  Without your help, none of the things that were accomplished this month could have happened.

Cornelio,  Cailene, & Bonnie