How much does out past shape our future?
According to an article in Psychology Today, what has happened in our past shapes what we expect for our future. So, events, places, people from our past are used to think about, and prepare for, our future expectation. The result of this is that bad events, bad people, places of hurt, will translate into what we think our future will be like, and likewise, good people, events and places will translate into our thoughts for a good future.
The problem is, that we all have a sin problem. A sin problem is the problem we have when we miss God’s target for our lives. When we do or say or even think something that is harmful or hurtful to God or to others. It is also the sin problem of others who do something harmful or hurtful to us. All of these things weigh us down with a terrible weight of hurt, anger, resentment, shame, guilt, and other negative emotions.
When you are a child or teenager, you measure your world by your past. It shapes your expectations for your future. And even when you are an adult, the weight of these things can hold you down and strip away your ability to affect our world for Good and to live a life pleasing to God.
We have been working with our girls at Casa to help them break free from this horrible past-sin problem. Paul confronted this very problem:
Rom 7:21-25 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Paul had been involved in hunting down and killing Christians. He had hurt and destroyed lives, and in doing that, he had also hurt all of their families. What a terrible weight to carry. And, for the family members of those who were martyred, they also carried a terrible weight of all the harm that resulted to them. But Paul recognized that he and all people could be rescued from this terrible weight of the past by Jesus!
A central Scripture we have been discussing with the girls has to do with the life of the person who truly wants to give their lives over to God.
Rom 6:23 the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Bible teaches that there is only one way to escape this certain death, this death that awaits all of us, and that is to believe, accept, and follow Jesus as the one to lead your life.
John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The truly amazing thing about doing this is what happens to us when we decide to surrender our will, our attitudes, our desires, our very lives to Him.
2 Cor 5:17 if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
What can be more amazing, more transforming than this? We are being told that all of those bad things from our past, whether committed against us or by us, can be washed away and He will make us a new creation, someone fit to operate according to His Kingdom standards of bringing good into our world.
We are seeking to get this message to sink into our girls at Casa. We see the results of sin: anger, jealousy, depression, poor self-image, unhappiness in many of them. But, if we can help them embrace Jesus as Lord of their lives, if we can help them to give over their PAST to allow Him to wash away the bad and replace it with good, then they can look forward to their future with hope and joy!
And this is what the Christmas season is all about for all of us:
Luke 2:11-14 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
This Christmas Season, we pray that we will all be able to truly turn our lives over to the Lord to accomplish His wonderful plans for our future. We pray that we will be washed and cleansed by His Word, and we pray that this Savior will set us free from our past of sin and hurt and give us new and clean hearts ready to go into the world and fulfill all the plans He has for our future and the future of those we can help.
Please pray for our girls and for all of the young people in our Alas program this Christmas Season that they also will be set free from the pain of the past and placed on a course of joy for the future!
Calling all handymen/women! We are planning on tearing out and replacing part of the roof at the Orphanage, and repairing the entire roof over the next couple of months. Your help will be much appreciated!
We will be celebrating God’s Gift of a savior in the church in Palomas on that day, as well, and gifts will be handed out to all of the kids in our alas program along with their younger siblings. Please join us for a time of celebration!
I hope you had a blessed month. In our November reunion with our Alas de Amor students we had a group from El Templo El Dios Viviente support us. They shared with our students and their parents how to become the best versions of themselves. I chose this topic because often we forget who we are and what we have become. The group used several dynamics to remind them of three main ways to become the best version of themselves:
1. Value their parents’ teachings and formation
2. Do not let others influence you negatively. Follow your dreams and achieve them
3. Always consider God and his word in any decision that you make.
Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
Matthew 7:17-20 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
In addition to our monthly reunion with them we had a bonfire with our girls and students from ages 12 and older. Around 30 students attended. We played, sang, ate and received a message from a young girl from Ciudad Juarez, her name is Genesis. She shared with us the importance of keeping our eye on God and nothing else. She gave several examples of what keeps our youth distracted from God. She provided examples such as unhealthy friendships, drinking, drugs, among a lot of other distractions this world offers. She encouraged them to be strong and keep their trust in God. He is the only one that can bring peace to our lives when the storm comes upon us. It was an awesome reminder of how great God is. Overall, the event was fun, and we hope the youth present got something out of this gathering.
I want to thank all of you for taking the time to send a Christmas gift for our students and their siblings. I can assure you that your present will bring a lot of joy to all of them this Christmas. This upcoming month we will be visiting each one of the Churches we work with. I personally love this month, because we have the opportunity to interact and share with our students and their families in a more intimate setting. This particular month we will be changing a little bit the program for our Christmas events. In previous years, we always had a youth group from another city sharing the word, but this time we decided to allow each church to have their own Christmas Program, for our Alas students.
Jim, Pat and Bere