Psalm 146:2 "I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quick Video Update

Hi Everyone,

Yeah! Blogger is letting me upload videos again--so here is a quick update!

Bless you all and see several of you soon!


video

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Holding Our Possessions Loosely

Hi Everyone,

I've been thinking about the past week and I think the biggest reminder that I have taken away from it is to hold my possessions loosely----The more stuff we have, the more complicated life can get. Every good gift comes from Him. God has given us things to enjoy--and there is nothing wrong with enjoying things--but our real treasure has to be Him----and knowing Him. And NOTHING compares to having Him as our greatest treasure!

Luke 12:15" Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

Matthew 6:20-21 "
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."

Psalm 62:10b "
though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Introducing Angel



















Hi Everyone,

Today I am introducing to you Angel--the bird that I got given in replacement for Speckles--yes He is tame---but I had to go through quite the questioning which the favorite question by the Pet store clerks was, "Did you squish your bird?" I was thinking--um no! Why would I buy a bird and treat it poorly? They asked me about four or five times without even examining the body of course.

So here in Angel!---I hope he is healthy and all---He seems fine but you never know.

And I just had a not so cool completely accidental escape with Amarillo--so in short I've lost two birds in one week. (MUST keep angel's wings clipped!!!----Amarillo NEVER would have let anyone touch him to do such a thing.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life Is Fragile...But God is Good!

Hi Everyone,

So this week had a few challenges.

On Monday I got the news that a friend that I cared about very much had gone home to be with the Lord--her death was not expected--very sad, but how wonderful to know that she is rejoicing.

Last night I took speckles out and showed her to my friends that live on my street--it was so great walking down the street with my bird on my shoulder. I ended up at Conchita's---and then we had that hard conversation that I wasn't expecting us to have---Her being honest about the complications of he health since the accident----and her saying, "Sometimes I feel like God might take me home soon." I know that that statement certainly possible---but then only God knows-and the more Conchita and I talk--the closer we become. We must enjoy each day that we are given.

Walking home with my bird speckles nestled into a towel sitting under my neck with one hand lightly covering her to protect her from the drops of rain, I was praising God for the beautiful blessing of such a tame bird as I hurried home---and tried to put her in the cage, but she refused and nestled back against me. I petted her softly and talked to her, tried to put her in the cage again, and she refused a second time---so I sat holding her for over half an hour---until all of the sudden she died and fell to the floor. She seemed relatively healthy so it was a surprise to me. It was so deeply sweet, precious, and yet bitter at the same time.

I thought to myself how sad it is that creation is affected as a result of man's sin. All of creation groans and awaits in hope for the glorious freedom of the children of God.

I woke up late this morning since I was up late with Speckles----and Amarillo is singing God's praises still---and even though he isn't friendly and doesn't trust me---His singing every morning reminds me that God is always worthy of our praise no matter what happens.

Yes, life is fragile, BUT GOD IS GOOD!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Youth Evangelistic Outreach Concert




















Hi Everyone,

We had a concert tonight at church as part of the evangelistic outreach week w e have had! It was neat! A group called Santiago (James) from Mexico City came and played--awesome solid lyrical content. The photo is all of is with the band members. Two youth expressed interest in placing their trust in Jesus for salvation. The youth from my church also did two Christian mimes that they had been practicing and they were neat and well done.

Today I also attended the graduation of my friend Ruth, one of the Pastor´s daughters--so it was a packed and blessed day! God is so good!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Amarillo´s Delight...And My Precious Simple Pleasure!

Hi Everyone,

I had no intentions of buying what I did yesterday----but I bought it---There were four people behind me that would have bought her if I had no done so.

I honestly went to find a graduation gift for my friend and came home with something else---and that usualy never happens. Yes, this is the absolutely last addition to my room--When Amarillo saw it he went crazy singing for over an hour straight--his reaction was priceless--I had no idea how lonely he was---

But we´ve killed two birds with one stone (pardon the expression amarillo) but I accidentally found a very tame baby cockatiel-----and she totally trusts me----I love her to death! She sits on my finger, on my shoulder, lets me pet her all over the place--and hangs out in my room when I am home--hasn´t bitten me yet. Amarillo also has a companion now--so he´s happy as can be--some days are long, which is great for me because I am here to work and serve, but for Amarillo, he is by himself a lot--(well used to be.) Ministry does not end at 5:00 p.m.

So now I have Yellow speckles (Amarillo and the new one I named Speckles for her mix of yellow and light brown in the feathers)--one male and one female--and they get along great....and it is a good thing they live for 15 to 20 years!

Amarillo and speckles--they are both special---but Speckles and I have something so wonderful---a relationship because she trusts me.

Simple pleasures are the best.....I think Amarillo would agree!

Introducing Speckles...............




















































Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Time For Everything

Hi Everyone,

Ecclesiaties 12:1-11

¨There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. ¨

I´ve been reflecting on the news I recieved yesterday---I told someone about it yesterday and started crying very briefly---and their response wsa that I was ¨suppose to always be joyful and not cry about it.¨

I think that person meant well---but their answer wasn´t correct...because sometimes hard stuff hapens---we live in a sinful and fallen world--we are not home yet...we aren´t always going to have a smile on our face---there are going to be tears in this life at times.

There is a time for everything under the sun--and God gave us tear ducts for a reason---We also see that Jesus also wept.--Sometimes I wonder if being joyful always doesn´t also include that inner peace of knoing that God has things all in control and that He really knows about each and every situation.

As the rain refreshed the ground last night, my tears alone with Him refreshed my being---finally after several hours I drifted asleep, and woke up this morning with a slight sadness--but also peace---because I KNOW that He know and cares so very much---and everything is in His hands.--He will make everything beautiful in its time!

Monday, June 20, 2011

God Holds The Answers To My Questions

Hi Everyone,

I got some disappointing news today....actually I would qualify it more as sad news.

I have questions--and although my questions may not be answered---I know that God knows and holds the answers to those questions.

And I am glad that God is my comfort, refuge, and strength.

What a wonderful God we serve.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hanging Out With The Youth Again

Hi Everyone,

I had made a really neat video update for you all but I am unable to upload videos to my blog at this time and am not sure why.

Today I went to hang out with the youth for a volleyball game with another church--it was fun--we came back in the evening for youth group as usual.

A few prayer requests---

Please pray for my church in these next few days--we are having a week of EVANGELISTIC OUTREACH. Please pray for all of those that are helping with this. Pray that the Lord would open up opportunities to share the gospel with people in our church neighborhood and other places as well--Pray that the Lord would touch hearts and lives and that people would´place their trust in Jesus Christ for Salvation. Pray that the gospel would be communicated clearly.

Please pray for me as I have about a month before I go to the States for ten days on border trip to renew my visa, briefly visit my sending church etc. I feel extremely busy with things that I am trying to finish up before leaving such as my cultural paper, other orientation requirements, and various other responsabilities and requests that are being added to my under-taking. Pray that I would have the Lord´s wisdom as to which certain requests from others can wait for the moment and that what really needs to get done would be completed. I desire to do everything well and unto the Lord´s glory.

Pray for the planning of the ten days that I am in my home-state and with my sending church. It isn´t enough time to see everyone that I would like to, but´pray that God would direct my time and that those days would be a blessing and refreshment and that I would not feel overwhelmed in any way.

Pray for me to be strengthened in my walk with the Lord and to keep Him first in all that I do.

I am looking forward to seeing several of you soon--Thank you for your prayers!

Because of Jesus,
Crystal

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Yoke Is Easy And My Burden Is Light!


Hi Everyone,

When I was minitering ewith the youth last weekend, the picture above was one I was able tpo take. I thought it was kind of neat--these two animals shari=ing the weight of the toke between them so they will go at the same pace and stride.

It reminded me of this verse Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus said these words. The only way that we can take His yoke upon us is for each person to have a personal relationship with Him by trusting in Jesus Christ's all sufficient paynent on the cross for our sin. When we trust Him we discover that we learn much from Him and that we find rest for our souls because we have the certainty of a home in Heaven with Him for all eternity. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. This does not mean that we do not face hard times or difficulties, but that we know He cares for our needs and has purposes in everything that we face--it is like the weight of things is shared between us and Him so to speak. We also learn that it is a delight to obey Him and that His commands are not burdonsome.

Hebrews 4:1 " Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Best Surprise!

Hi Everyone,

Yesterday I received the best surprise eve! I had come back from working at the sending base, settled down to take a tiny nap and all of the sudden I heard a knock on my bedroom door.

I woke up half way confused--"Who would be knocking on my door?," I thought. "Surely I must have been dreaming." I settled back down to lay there a few more minutes.

But thwn I heard the knock again-----wow I was not dreaming---someone really was at my door.

I opened it to the best surprise ever!

Olga was standing there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wasn´t thinking she would come for a few more weeks yet.

After long overdue greetings of joy, I invited her into my room and we sat on my bed-----and I told her my testimony about how God saved me about eleven months ago-

The cool part was-----she totally believed it!!!!

So we´ve been having fun getting caught up and working very hard cleaning the house, fixing up the plants etc.

I am so glad that she is back--what a blessing! Praise the Lord!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Wonderful Cross!

Hi Everyone,

Almost a year ago a friend of mine from my home church took me for an awesome day of paddle-boating and fellowship for my birthday. While we were paddling, we saw this amazing cross made from a tree trunk or branches on the shore!


I´ve been wanting to post this for nearly a year--and looking at this picture and remembering that day and the joy of those months as a new believer that had trusted Christ made and makes me think of this wonderful hymn.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Words: Isaac Watts, 1707. Music: Lowell Mason, 1824

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

To Christ, Who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Youth Ministry Event

Hi Everyone,

Saturday was a long day--I got up really early and took the bus to meet several of the youth in my church as well as youth from other churches. I wasn´t sure where we were headed---(my fault for not reading the flyer) I thought it was a youth conference or something---turns out it was a community service and evangelism type thing like what I do with the doctors and dentists of Amigos Sin Frontera--I was so excited!

video

video

As I said in the video, the dentists were not able to come, but it was a blast anywyas! Hee are a few more pictures---the oversized toothbrush (which was really cool and hand-made was suppose to be a prop for the dentists) Honestly we found a few ways to entertain ourselves with it at the end of the afternoon!




When I got back to Cuernavaca, it was time for regular youth group--so I got to hang out with the youth more! It was a great day of ministry!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beautiful Moth

Hi Everyone!

As I was watering Olga´s plants yesterday, I saw this beautiful moth!

I wanted to see if he would open his wings for me-----I touched them just slightly--they were so soft and fuzzy---He opened his wings and looked like this!


Such a beautiful little thing...guess he wanted a drink of water too!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Compelled To Sing..................

Hi Everyone,

God uses my little cockatiel to teach me so many little object lessons.

Amarillo surprises me every morning! He sings every morning as I get ready for work--and the nice thing is that He doesn't do so until I am actually up and out of bed. However I do not think we are making much progress in his growth if trusting me yet.

Are we compelled to praise our Lord like Amarillo demonstrates so clearly every morning? Rejoicing in our hearts with overflowing gratitude and thankfulness regardless of the circumstances?

Psalm 28:7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him."

Psalm 65:8 "The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. "

Psalm 69:30 "I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."

Psalm 89:1 "I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

God Knows Our Needs Before We Ask!

Hi Everyone,
I am so thankful that God knows our needs before we ask--and it is so great that we can tell Him absolutely everything. He knows the needs that we would never be able to share with another person---He cares and provides for them. He is good--and has proved Himself faithful in my life again today.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Do We Use Prayer As An Excuse Sometimes?

HI Everyone,

At prayer Monday morning at the sending base one of my collegues talked about God´s command to pray without ceasing---which definitely we should do. But He also mentioned and questioned that if sometimes we use prayer as an excuse not to act or help others. He said that sometimes it is easy to say that we will pray for someone about their need but at the same time in certain situations we may not realize that we can be a tool of the Lord for the answer to their prayer. I am just mentioing this because it is something I am thinking about---and praying "Lord, how can you use me to be Your instrument to be more atentive to those around me and be a blessing??" What do you want me to do about the needs I see around me--obviously I can´t help every single one but make me obedient to You.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Conchita

HI Everyone,

"We have to live eacd day as if it was our last."----Convhita

"Crystal we have so much in comon---someday we are going to talk about everything----" Conchita

Conchita is a precious blessing--just a few weeks ago I was feeling somewhat lonely for not having someone to share the commonalities of life with--God provided Conchita as an answer to that prayer.

Please pray that we two would enjoy each day that we are given to the fullest--we don´t know how long we have.

Conchita made me the best meatballs I had ever ate before in my life last night--and I didn´t get sick from eating them either! Before the accident she was a cook and arranged the details for huge events.

Monday, June 6, 2011

More of God´s Creation To Enjoy

Hi Everyone,

Here are some pictures from the weekend! Enjoy!

Papaya´s growing froma tree admist Olga´s (the lady I rent from) flowers and plants in the outdoor patio-----It will be interesting to seehow long the papayas take to fully mature--my guess is quite awhile!


And here are some orange and red roses from her flowers too!






I live in the best place ever! (minus the cockroaches in the bathroom sometimes) :o)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reflections From Youth Group

Hi Everyone,

I was reminded last night as I was with the youth of all that God has done in my life in the last year. I have not forgotten. Someone mentioned the internal fight that sometimes takes place before one finally trusts Christ--and it instantly made me reflect back---I remember those days of inner turmoil--it was the hardest time of my life--but I would never change it for the world.

And yet almost exactly at the same time, as I reflected for a moment--I had this amazing peace and calm--and sat reveling in the fact that nothing will ever be able to take away the fact that I trust Him----and THAT is the most beatiful thing--nothing in the world compares to the joy and peace He gives--nothing!

I have come to realize that being with this group of youth is something that I eagerly look forward to--and is the first time I have ever enjoyed being part of a youth group and realize I can fully be myself and not have to pretend to be something I am not--I am sure part of that has to do with God´s work in my life. But I just also appreciate the fact that everyone gets along and they genuinely care for eachother---while some are closer in reltionship to certain ones than others there are no "clicks" and I have yet to hear someone say a word of gossip about another.

God has restored to me more blessings than I can ever begin to count---and the thing dof the past before Christ seldom come to mind.

GOD IS GOOD!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Important To Share The Gospel Clearly

Hi Everyone,

I´ve heard some gospel presentations--where the gospel has not been presented clearly--i

When we share the gospel with someone---we are encouraging them to consider TRUSTING in Christ alone for their salvation. I understand that we use the words like "receive Jesus in your heart"--but talking about TRUSTING in Christ, in my opinion, is so much more acurate as to what is needed for salvation.

Jesus being the Father´s one and only Son was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin (Mary--who also needed a Savior and did not have sinless perfection as some claim), lived a life without sin, and died willingly on the cross taking our punishment for sin upon Himself. Three days later He arose from the grave proving that He was and is God--His death was all suffcient once and for all. No one else could ever do what Christ has done for us.

A person´s eternal destiny depends on who or what they trust in--and only trsuting in Christ alone is going to get us to heaven---not our good works---trying to be good---following church tradition, being raised in a Christian home etc.....or anything else.

Another thing I´ve been thinking about is just that we need to be careful about asking people to "pray the prayer" too quickly. There is nothing wrong if someone prays and gives their trust to Christ whle doing so-----that is great and that is just fine---but just because someone "prays the prayer" does not necesarially mean they are saved or trusted Christ (This was assumed in a gospel presentation I heard recently--and I found out later that the individual thought it was "hogwash and wanted people off of their case." Also especially here in the culture and religion--people "repeat prayers after others like a mantra a lot." People can so easily pray a prayer--and still not have a clue. We just need to be careful.

So it is really important to stress that it is trusting Christ that saves--and that people aren´t trusting in a prayer to save them either.

Lord, use us as your instruments to share the gospel truthfully, simply and clearly--that others may be drawn to know You the one and only living God.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Searching For Significance?

Hi Everyone,

Are you searching for significance?

It is so easy to start believing that our significance is found having a spouse, in our job, in our achievements, or in what we own.

But our significance is found in one place--JESUS CHRIST----and nothing else in life is going to be more significant than Him.....and the fact that we trust in Him alone. As much as we are tempted to try to look to the things of this world--nothing is going to satisfy like Him.

I am not sure why I write so many blogs like this lately--maybe more than anything I am reminding myself of these truths as well.

EPHESIANS 2:1-10

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trust Hix Heart

Hi Everyone,

This song has been going through my head lately--Some people use it for funerals but that isn´t why I am thinking of it. I thought maybe it would bless some of you.

Trust His Heart
by Babbie Mason

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we can´t
See how they could.
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes Bbind us to the truth.
Our Father knows what´s best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just can´t see Him
Remember He´s still on the throne.

Chorus
God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don´t understand
When you don´t understand
When you can´t see His hand
Trust His Heart

He sees the master plan
He holds the future in His hands
Don´t live as those who have no hope
When our hope is found in Him.
We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapesty, He´s weaving you and me
To someday be just like Him.

Repeat chorus

He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you!

Repeat chorus

When you can´t trace his hand
when you don´t see His plan
When you don´t understand
Trust His heart


On Other Topics

On Thursday the housegroup that mets on my street is going to evangelize in the community--pray that the gospel would be presented clearly to those we come in contact with.