Friday, March 28, 2014

Can Prayer Be Unwanted?

This morning I was reading through Proverbs 28 and verse 9 really stuck out:
            He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
                        Even his prayer is an abomination. – Proverbs 28:9

I remember where the Bible says husbands that don’t live with their wives in an understanding way can have their prayers hindered (1 Peter 3:7), but here we are told prayers can be an abomination to God. [Abomination: a vile, shameful, or detestable action; hateful beyond belief.]
Who is the person that turns away his ear from listening to the law? This would be someone who knows God’s law, who knows what God desires, yet turns away from these things because it might not be convenient for them. These people are everywhere! I think Solomon is referring not so much to unbelievers, because they don’t generally know God’s law, but to believers – people who call themselves Christians and may even be going to church.

And that is the danger. There are many people who know God’s law but have turned their ears away from His law, looking for something they want to hear.
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. – 2 Timothy 4:3-4

 How do you know if you have turned your ear from listening to the law? Don’t look at your heart, for The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9). Instead, look at your actions, look at how you are living your life. Certainly your actions do nothing for your salvation, but your actions and how you live your life are a reflection of your faith and your belief (faith without works is useless – James 2:20).

The Message translates Proverbs 28:9 like this:
            God has no use for the prayers
                        of the people who won’t listen to him.

Are you listening to God’s word, or have you turned your ear, deciding there are parts of God’s law that just don’t fit into your life at this time? Or are you enjoying the benefits of being a child of God?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Can you afford $6 to buy a plastic bin?

We have received donations of yarn, material and sewing notions, but all of it is still in the suitcases and cardboard boxes they came in. As we develop the Center of Hope, we want to use these items to teach women to sew, knit, cut hair (not with these items, of course!), and other skills to help them support their families.

As you can see, we have a storeroom full of empty shelves. We don’t really want to put suitcases full of material on these shelves; can you imagine trying to find what you want?

We are giving you an opportunity to help (by asking for your direct support). For $6 you can buy a 12-liter plastic bin; for $6.50 you can buy a 20-liter bin; for $8.50 you can buy a larger bin (I don’t remember the size).

This is a 12-liter bin, cost = US $6

This is a 20-liter bin, cost = US $6.50

This is a larger bin, cost = US $8
PLEASE, consider buying 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10 bins for us. You send us the money and we will buy the bins! How else can you contribute directly to needs in-the-field?

Since we’re in Paraguay, how can you send us the money? It’s a few keystrokes away (if you want to do it, you can do it – but will you do it?)…
1)   go to
2)   click on GIVE
you can mail a check to the address shown, or use a credit card…
3)   click on GIVE ONLINE (for credit cards)
4)   under Designation, select Missionary
5)   below Missionary, scroll down and select Stevener, Bill & Sandy – 27668
6)   to the right, in the amount area, enter how much you want to spend on the bins
7)   click “Add” to finish this part of the form
8)   continue to fill out the rest form (name, address, credit card info, etc)

Please send us an email or FB message letting you know how many and what size bins you want to buy.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Schooled by a 7-year old!

Sunday morning service was held in the amphitheater because we had no electricity on the complex, hence no fans in the church building. When it came time to pass the offering bag, the usher first passed it to the group of adults and older kids. When it got to me, I was going to pass it over to the younger kids, but the usher asked for the bag directly. I gave it to him and he passed it to the other adults and older kids. Eventually the bag made it back to me from the side of the younger kids, and I noticed they were all putting in their coins.

Apparently the offering bag had bypassed one of the younger girls. After the usher had collected the bag and was putting it away, this young girl came quickly and put her coins in, also. That act made a big impression on me.

Admittedly, there have been times when an offering bag didn’t make it to where I was sitting and I was content to save my offering for another time. This girl was different. She had a choice: save her offering money for something she might like, or give it to God’s work in the church. After all, no one would know if she didn’t make her offering. It wasn’t her fault the bag didn’t get to her. She was willing to give, but didn’t have to make the extra effort. But she did. Wow!

How many reasons do we come up with for not giving? Who else can learn from this little girl? Giving is a privilege, not an obligation. Take advantage of it!