Monday, June 30, 2014

**Hug It Forward Bottle School** Building Schools out of Trash ~ 3 Months of filming compressed into a 3 minute video: An overview of the hard work, dedication, win-wins, and excitement surrounding Bottle Schools. Hug It Forward has facilitated the construction of 39 Bottle Schools in Guatemala and El Salvador since October 2009.

Bags of collected bottles

Carrying bags of empty bottles up the hill before, during and after school.
Over 1,800 kids from the region stuffed 2.5 tons of trash into 10,186 bottles to realize the dream of a new school. 

Working together with kids are community leaders like Marco Xe who inspire and empower community members to put aside factions and solve their problems as one.

Filling empty plastic bottles with trash.

Small bags being filled with sand to carry up hill to building site.
Ownership is earned.

Skilled labor is taught to community members.

Putting bottles in place...

The power of community

Covering outside walls with cement...

Covering inside walls with cement...

Bringing dirt for floor...

Tamping down the dirt just brought in....

Bottle schools change the world...
the environment...
and volunteers...

Click on the video at the beginning of this post to watch the step-by-step progress of this school being built.

The song being played in the background of the video is One Day by Matisyahu.

Here are the lyrics...

"One Day"

Sometimes I lay
Under the moon
And thank God I'm breathing
Then I pray
Don't take me soon
'Cause I am here for a reason

Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it'll all turn around because...

All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day [x6]

It's not about
Win or lose
Because we all lose
When they feed on the souls of the innocent
Blood-drenched pavement
Keep on moving though the waters stay raging

In this maze you can lose your way (your way)
It might drive you crazy but don't let it faze you no way (no way)

Sometimes in my tears I drown (I drown)
But I never let it get me down (get me down)
So when negativity surrounds (surrounds)
I know some day it'll all turn around because...

All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day [x6]

One day this all will change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate

One day we'll all be free
And proud to be
Under the same sun
Singing songs of freedom like
One day [x2]

All my life I've been waiting for
I've been praying for
For the people to say
That we don't wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day [x6]

Discipline Yourself

Day 300
365 messages of help and healing ~

You may have to force yourself to concentrate on God’s words and instructions.

“He’s the physician. This is the medicine. You take it,” says Kay Arthur.

Disciplining yourself to read the Bible daily is not easy when your emotions are interfering with your thoughts.

 The Bible addresses this struggle:
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul" (Proverbs 2:1-10).

My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.“ (Proverbs 4:20-23)

Grant me discipline, Lord God. Amen.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

What steps can I take to apply the truth to my life?

from my daily devotional for Sunday

By Dr. Charles Stanley
God wants us independent of everything but Him.
Once you know the truth of your position, personage, and possessions in Christ, how do you make practical application of this information in your daily walk?
Here are four steps:
You must choose to be free. You simply must make up your mind that you believe God’s Word and that you will break free from the bondages that have enslaved you. You made a conscious decision when you accepted Christ, and you can make another to believe the truth you have learned and throw off the old thought patterns and behaviors that haunt you.
You must continue in the Word. You cannot abide in God’s Word by memorizing a few verses or by zipping through it five minutes before bedtime. You must seek to absorb the deep riches of Scripture and ask God to show you how it applies to your life.

You must believe God’s Word to be true. Satan will acknowledge that God’s Word is true, but then he’ll whisper that it doesn’t apply to you. Yes, it does! God’s Word applies to everyone, and God will speak to you specifically through it.

 You must claim by faith what rightfully belongs to you. You are a saint of God because of your faith in Christ and His work on the Cross. Your position, personage, and possessions are all in Christ and come only because of the Cross. Claim them with confidence, and trust God with the results.


Farther along, we'll understand why

{from my email notes}

Dear Friend,

And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

This statement is found in the fourth chapter of Esther. Mordecai is suggesting to his cousin that the reason she has become queen is in order that she might use her influence for the preservation of her people, the Jews. It appears to Mordecai that God has Esther in a special place because He has a special purpose for her to fulfill.

The mysterious unfolding of God's purpose is seldom understood in the immediate. In most cases it is, as the old song reminds us, 

Farther along we'll know all about it.
Farther along, we'll understand why.

There are features of God's dealings with us that in His loving wisdom, He determines to keep hidden from us (Deut. 29:29). We may be confident that nothing escapes His notice or catches Him by surprise. Although we may only see links in the chain, God sees the end from the beginning and is constantly overruling the events – global and personal – for His glory and for the good of His people. Although our circumstances are, doubtless, not as grand and demanding as Esther's, it is important for us to recognize that we are all where we are in God's purpose. And, as Eric Alexander once told me, "There is no ideal place to serve God, except the place He sets you down." That is an important fact to keep in mind and not least of all for pastors who may find themselves in contexts that are more demanding than rewarding. Having just returned from Wales, I have in mind some men I met who are plowing hard furrows and are to be commended for their faithfulness and undergirded by our prayers.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

LIFE PRINCIPLE #19 ~ Anything you hold too tightly, you will lose.

 Amos 6:6-7 ~ New Century Version (NCV)
You drink wine by the bowlful
    and use the best perfumed lotions.
    But you are not sad over the ruin of Israel,
so you will be some of the first ones taken as slaves.
    Your feasting and lying around will come to an end.

 In seventeenth century France, a humble church leader named Francois Fenelon wrote a letter of encouragement to believers who sought perspective during some discouraging trials. 

He said:
"Do not worry about the future. It makes no sense to worry if God loves you and has taken care of you. However, when God blesses you, remember to keep your eyes on Him and not the blessing. Enjoy your blessings day by day, just as the Israelites enjoyed their manna; but do not try to store the blessings for the future...
            Sometimes in this life of faith God will remove His blessings from you. But remember that He knows how and when to replace them, either through the ministry of others or by Himself. He can raise up children from the very stones.
            Eat then your daily bread without worrying about tomorrow. There is time enough tomorrow to think about the tings tomorrow will bring. The same God who feeds you today is the very God who will feed you tomorrow. God will see to it that manna falls again from Heaven in the midst of the desert, before His children lack any good thing."

If we lived with faith of this kind, we would stop being so anxious and fretting about all our troubles. Will we humbly depend on God to provide?

Admit it—in a tough situation, your first emotional response is to take control. We all want control. We want to live with the assurance that everything will be okay, and the things that aren't right can be fixed with concentrated effort. Secretly we often think, "If I plan carefully and labor enough, I can overcome any difficulty."

The problem comes when your efforts aren't enough—the problem you face is greater than all of your resources or completely outside your scope of influence. God allows those trials for an important reason—He wants you to recognize that He is in control. Yet, the Lord does not want merely to be the resource you call on when you're in trouble. God wants to be your all-sufficient Lord and Master, Savior and Friend. He knows you intimately; He formed your very cells and fibers (Ps. 139:13-16); He has a good plan for every day of your life (Eph. 2:10), and He knows how to fulfill His purpose for you (Ps. 138:8).

When you face circumstances that rapidly deplete your spiritual, emotional, and physical reserves, you may want to cling to something strong out of fear. The question you must consider is whether your worries drive you to the arms of God or to your own resources.

Are you hanging on to something other than the Lord? Are you gripping some form of earthly security instead of trusting Him to help you? Remember, whatever you hold too tightly, you will lose. Whatever you are clutching for safety has become an idol to you—regardless of whether it is wealth, your giftedness, a relationship, religious rituals, or what have you—and God is not going to allow you to keep it as your source of confidence—a role that rightly belongs to Him. Rather, He will allow it to fail you so you can see that He truly is your sovereign and unfailing Lord.

God longs for you to release yourself into His control and eternal support. He will take care of all that concerns you in the best way possible, and He will also sustain you in the process (Phil. 4:6-7).

When you feel ready to yield wholly to the Lord, Psalm 56 provides a wonderful model prayer: "When I am afraid, I will put My trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?" (vv. 3-4).

Maybe to this point in your relationship with the Lord you have not experienced a trial so extreme that it caused you to assess the true foundation of your trust. God has blessed you with a time of quiet strengthening.

But understand that He loves you too much to allow you any notions of self-sufficiency. He will test you in time, but always with the purpose of demonstrating His never-ending love. ]

from this study Bible...

you can also find Pastor Charles Stanley's Life Principles at

Friday, June 27, 2014

Your assignment? To Worship, Give Thanks & to Praise the LORD!!

As I was reading in 1 Chronicles 16, this verse jumped out at me:

Then David appointed some of the Levites to serve before the Ark of the Lord. They had the job of leading the worship and giving thanks and praising the Lord, the God of Israel. 

That verse came as a surprise to me!! 
Imagine being appointed to serve specifically...
to lead the worship...
to give thanks...
to praise the LORD!!

I guess I just take it for granted that those are things that Christians are all supposed to do...and could be better at doing... just came as a surprise that these things were assigned to do.

That day David first gave Asaph and his relatives the job of singing praises to the Lord.
David’s Song of Thanks
8 Give thanks to the Lord and pray to him.
    Tell the nations what he has done.
9 Sing to him; sing praises to him.
    Tell about all his miracles.
10 Be glad that you are his;
    let those who seek the Lord be happy.
11 Depend on the Lord and his strength;
    always go to him for help.
12 Remember the miracles he has done,
    his wonders, and his decisions.
13 You are the descendants of his servant, Israel;
    you are the children of Jacob, his chosen people.
14 He is the Lord our God.
    His laws are for all the world.
15 He will keep his agreement forever;
    he will keep his promises always.
16 He will keep the agreement he made with Abraham
    and the promise he made to Isaac.
17 He made it a law for the people of Jacob;
    he made it an agreement with Israel to last forever.
18 He said, “I will give the land of Canaan to you,
    to belong to you.”
19 Then God’s people were few in number,
    and they were strangers in the land.
20 They went from one nation to another,
    from one kingdom to another.
21 But he did not let anyone hurt them;
    he warned kings not to harm them.
22 He said, “Don’t touch my chosen people,
    and don’t harm my prophets.”
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
    Every day tell how he saves us.
24 Tell the nations about his glory;
    tell all peoples the miracles he does.
25 The Lord is great; he should be praised.
    He should be respected more than all the gods.
26 All the gods of the nations are only idols,
    but the Lord made the skies.
27 He has glory and majesty;
    he has power and joy in his Temple.
28 Praise the Lord, all nations on earth.
    Praise the Lord’s glory and power;
29     praise the glory of the Lord’s name.
Bring an offering and come to him.
    Worship the Lord because he is holy.
30 Tremble before him, everyone on earth.
    The earth is set, and it cannot be moved.
31 Let the skies rejoice and the earth be glad.
    Let people everywhere say, “The Lord is king!”
32 Let the sea and everything in it shout;
    let the fields and everything in them rejoice.
33 Then the trees of the forest will sing
    for joy before the Lord.
    They will sing because he is coming to judge the world.
34 Thank the Lord because he is good.
    His love continues forever.
35 Say to him, “Save us, God our Savior,
    and bring us back and save us from other nations.
Then we will thank you
    and will gladly praise you.”
36 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel.
    He always was and always will be.
All the people said “Amen” and praised the Lord.

37 Then David left Asaph and the other Levites there in front of the Ark of the Agreement with the Lord. They were to serve there every day. 

43 Then all the people left. Each person went home, and David also went home to bless the people in his home.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday's Answers to Life's Questions: How does my conscience differ from the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

Romans 2:14-15...
(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

The conscience functions similar to a computer. A computer is programmed to respond in specific ways to specific information. It also responds to information based on the commands it has been programmed to follow.

When you click your word processing application, your computer knows which program to open. For the most part, computers are simply responders.

The conscience is a responder as well. It responds to certain input, just as it has been programmed. Paul describes it like this: "For when Gentiles, who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them" (Rom. 2:14-15).

God has programmed His moral code into the heart of every man and woman. We are born with it. When a person's actions or thoughts violate that code, the conscience responds by sending a "no" message to the brain. On the other hand, when the act or thought goes along with the pre-programmed moral code, the conscience says "go."

Notice that Paul says our thoughts sometimes point out the legitimacy of certain actions. When that happens, if the actions line up with the law of god written in our hearts, the conscience gives us the go-ahead.

When you became a Christian, a change began to occur in your conscience. The basic moral code that everyone has at birth started to be overhauled. The Spirit of truth took up residency in your heart. Then, whether you were aware of it or not, He immediately set about to reprogram your conscience. Whereas before you had a general sense of right and wrong, the Holy Spirit began renewing your mind to more specific and complete truths (1 Cor. 2:10-13).

You participate in this renewal process every time you read your Bible, attend worship, memorize a verse, or pray. The Holy Spirit uses all this input to reprogram the database through which your conscience evaluates every opportunity, thought, invitation, word, and deed.

As this process continues, your conscience tunes in with the moral code of the Holy Spirit—a code reflecting the moral and ethical standards of God. This process sensitizes you not only to God's moral standards but also to the will of God.

~ page 979 ~

The Charles F. Stanley
Life Principles Daily Bible
Biblical Principles for Each Day of the Year

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

10 Things GOD Wants You to Always Remember

I WILL give you rest. ~ Is 40:31 
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. 

I WILL strengthen you. ~ 2 Tim 4: 17 
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

 I WILL answer you. ~ 1 John 5:14-15 
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

I BELIEVE in you. ~ John 17:26 
And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

I WILL bless you. ~ 2 Peter 1:4 
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 I AM for you. ~ Romans 8:31 
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

 I WILL not fail you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:8 
And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.

 I WILL provide for you. ~ Philippians 4:19 
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I WILL be with you. ~ Joshua 1:9 
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

I LOVE YOU!!! ~ Romans 8:37-39 
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

found at the link below: