Posts Tagged ‘jesus’

12
Jun

Don’t Forget The Top Coat!

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

 

I am going to write a book:  

‘Don’t Forget The Topcoat!’

A Journey of Christian Womanhood

From hiding to healing.

I think the title sounds good.  I just got done with a women’s get together at church.  Now that sounds so very, I don’t know, fun and refreshing.  I cannot say it was all that.  I guess I expected all fun without the heart wrenching feelings I had there.  I feel so deeply for others.  My call has been to love women for a long time.  And that was what this was all about.  Breeann and I got to do a skit in the beginning of it.  That was the fun part!  That and just the steady hum of conversation and the sweet voices of the women sharing their lives.  For those of you not called to that it would probably sound horrible, but for me it was marvelous!  I have decided that I like putting on skits and acting.  But between the skit and the main speaker I realized something about that and, of course, it touched me a little deeper than I would like.  She had some bad situations growing up.  She made some really bad decisions from there to here.  It was all a journey I found exhausting for the parallels it had with different times with my life.  She works at a Christian ranch that helps people to heal emotionally and spiritually with love and Jesus.  I wish I would have found that place years ago.  It has been quite the journey in my life, even since coming to Christ.  I identified with her saying that she wished someone would have been able to tell her or show her what she needed to do.  She finally did run into that at a Christian Recover Center and then after that at this 5 Rock Ranch where she now lives.  I had heard someone say of her that she calls herself the chameleon because she changed to be what was acceptable in what ever environment she was in and I know that journey.  There are times when I find myself trying to slip back into that.  It is the one battle I have to keep continually surrendering to the Lord because I know who I am in Christ and it is so contrary to who I was when I was trying to live like the world.  Sometimes it presents itself so evident in other Christians that I don’t know what to do.  And sometimes it is so strong in me that I wonder how long it takes to overcome completely.  I would like to talk to that speaker more.  She testifies to being delivered from all those things and I would like to change the last line of my book to ‘from hiding to healed’

The title is one that came to my brain on the drive home today.  Because I found in my life that I spent most of it trying to be a french manicure.  I painted on the ‘natural’ color, because mine wasn’t good enough, and to be sure that it stayed that way I added two layers of top coat.  So I looked good and normal on the outside and boy was I durable.  I was suppose to look that way.  But underneath I was suffocating in all the fakeness.  I was trying to be what I thought I should be, but it was not who I was meant to be.  I am getting closer though…now…and the Lord Jesus has 100% been the reason that I am.  But I want to be completely restored to who I was meant to be and I am not sure I am there, but I am sure God will take me there.  The question is:  Will it be before Peru or in Peru?

Blessings everyone!

Steph

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9
Jun

My Grammie and the Waltons

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

 

    

My maternal Grandmother, Charlotte, whom we called Grammie. This was taken of her in 1990.

 

 This is my Grammie.  It has taken me almost 6 months to write about this because God has had me on a  journey with it.  I have not grieved so hard since I lost my son 21 years ago.  She died the day after her birthday in January.  I was there with the family as she took her last breath.  I have been living ever since praying for God to remove that vision.  It was not what I would have wanted or would ever have pictured.  I have seen people die before.  But it was different to have someone who so deeply touched my life.  I often said I wanted to grow up and be a Grammie.  She deserves to be remembered and her memory will remain alive through the stories I pass on to my children and grandchildren.  She was there for me so often.  She had a heart that didn’t stop and a deep love for her family.  She had been in much pain for the last 10 years due to a nerve condition that they could never resolve.   

Anthony, my son, who was born September 1989, but died of SIDS at 2 months. Here he is with my sister the day he was born.

 

I have just buried it so I could just get stronger.  I do not know where she was in her walk, though I shared the love of Jesus with, and prayed for, her.  Somehow I kept thinking if I knew she was safe in Jesus’ presence it would make it so much easier.  And I believe it would have, but I think God wants me to feel this uncertainty so that I can cling to Him right now.  So that I feel an even stronger urgency to pray for those I love and have a burden to share the love of Jesus with others.    

 See, our close friends and neighbors had a death on Sunday.  Our friend Len lost his dad.  It was his mom and dad’s anniversary.  I could barely show feelings.  I realize that I have put a bandage on my heart to block the injury I have from losing my Grammie and in the process I have blocked a part of me that feels for others in their grief.  I realized that when I could not allow myself to cry for their loss.  I don’t want to do that again.  I did that for years with Anthony and ended up shunning death and those who mourned.  Time to take the bandage off and give the wound some air so that it can toughen up and heal.    

I think, if I could ask anything of anyone it would be the lesson that came with the Waltons.   

 Gabby, our youngest, has been on a mission to watch all the Walton’s shows first.  I started getting the seasons a few years ago for holidays and then Ron got all but   

#5 of the 8 seasons.  She found that she had really only watched half of them by the time she got to 8 because she did not know the DVDs were two sided.  What I watched was the learning experiences she gained from the show, and what it made me feel in nostalgia.  As the seasons rolled on they lost Grandpa.  Then many health tragedies struck them.  Momma got sick, depressed, and then had to go tend to John boy who was in the hospital after being injured in the war.  Grandma went away for a while after having had stroke herself.  They had a house fire.  All these tragedies, yet we watched their love and faith heal them as a family.  They were never the same after each event.  It changed them.  It changed us.  It made us reflect.  It made us wish we could go back.  Back to the sweet first days when everyone was alive and well.  When youth with all it’s energy and beauty was like the breath of Spring.    

How do you get beyond that in life?  Are you really ever meant to?  For the Walton’s we started watching side two at the beginning of the series today.  We want to go back and with a tv show we can.  Now everyone is alive and all are happy.(though still poor, lol)  But I reflected upon that as I came in to Gabby going, “Hurray!  Grandpa is alive!”  It created a thrill in me.  A joy of sorts.  May seem shallow about a show, but I think it went deeper.  It made me think of Jesus, his sacrifice, and his raising from the dead.  With Jesus we all will have that thrill someday.  I pray that everyone can be certain of that by wrestling with their doubts, their faith, with the realization of their mortality as humans.  Jesus has given us a gift that will allow us to have that thrill one day with our loved ones.  Gift those who love you with a profession of your faith so that they can have the comfort of knowing that they will see you again some day.  If you struggle with the belief in God, Jesus, and salvation I would ask that you write to me.  I would be happy to send you resources or talk to you about what it all means.  I won’t force it upon the unwilling, but will be more than happy to share with the seekers who are hearing Jesus knock on the door of their hearts.  My Grammie had that picture on her wall, but I don’t really know what she made of it.  The picture of Jesus knocking on the door.  I pray she let Him in.    

Blessings, Stephanie

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16
Apr

The Storm Will Not Overtake You!

   Posted by: Ron & Stephanie Kenaston    in Our Mission

I love the story of Jesus walking on water found in Matthew 14. Jesus’ disciples headed out in a boat while Jesus dismissed the crowds He had just been teaching. After spending time alone to pray, Jesus headed out during the fourth watch of the night to the boat full of disciples which was being beaten about by the waves far offshore. When the disciples saw him, they freaked thinking it was ghost. Jesus reassured them by saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

Peter responded by saying, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus commanded Peter to come, and Peter stopped out of the boat and headed toward Jesus. Of course, we all know that when Peter saw the wind and waves he began to doubt and sink, but Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of Peter saying, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
 
So many aspects of this situation intrigue me.  I have started analyzing the wording of passages.  I have found many different lectionary and commentary sources to help me with that.  Also looking at the wording as it was originally.  I hope that you get something out of this too. The story of Jesus walking on the water follows the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. It is interesting to note how Jesus reacts after this and the reactions of the disciples.

VERSES 22-23:  HE WENT UP THE MOUNTAIN BY HIMSELF TO PRAY

22Immediately Jesus made (Greek:  enankasen –– compels) the disciples get into the boat, and to go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23After he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain by himself to pray. When evening had come, he was there alone.

 “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat”  The disciples obey Jesus, trusting him and willing to follow his guidance.  They had just seen Jesus feed 5 thousand people with hardly anything! 

“After he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain by himself to pray”   He tried to find a quiet place earlier, but the crowds interrupted him (14:13).  Now he finds the opportunity to pray. He could have taken his friends and students with him, but he knew, as  we sometimes do, that we need to get alone with God.  What we have to say, reflect on, thank him for, is between God and you.  Jesus set the example.  Sometimes we are so frantic about a situation that we try to call anyone and everyone, or visit someone, or wait to go to bible study, but what we need to do is just get alone and lay it all out to God.  We find too much worth in other people helping us rather than first relying on God and then petitioning others to pray with and for us. 

VERSES 24-27:  TAKE HEART, IT IS I; DO NOT BE AFRAID

 24But the boat was now in the middle of the sea (Greek: stadious pollous apo tes ges –– many stadia from the land), distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25In the fourth watch of the night (Greek:  tetarte de phulake tes nuktos –– in the fourth watch of the night) Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It’s a ghost!” and they cried out for fear.  27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying “Cheer up! It is I! Don’t be afraid.”

 “But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary” (v. 24).  The boat is studious pollous–– many stadia –– from land.  A stadion is about 600 feet, and John tells us that the disciples had gone about twenty-five to thirty stadia –– about three miles (John 6:19), which would put them near the middle of the sea. 

 “In the fourth watch of the night” (tetarte de phulake tes nuktos –– in the fourth watch of the night) (v. 25a).  The fourth watch is 3:00 to 6:00 a.m., and the disciples have had an amazing day.  I cannot imagine how tired they are.

 “Jesus came to them, walking on the sea”(v. 25b).  “In Biblical literature, the sea is often represented as the abode of demonic forces hostile to God” (Craddock, 400).  To have command over the sea is God’s exclusive right. 

 Matthew has identified Jesus as Emmanuel –– God with us (1:23) –– and this story reinforces that role.  The story of the disciples on the sea  holds a promise that Jesus comes to Christians in the midst of the storm –– that the storm does not hold the upper hand –– that Christ is present with us in the storm and redeems us from the storm.

When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying,

“It’s a ghost!” and they cried out for fear” (v. 26.)  The storm, while dangerous, is familiar.  It is not until they see Jesus that they are afraid.  They fear that they are seeing a ghost. 

Jesus responds with a threefold statement:  Cheer up! It is I! Don’t be afraid” (v. 27). “Don’t be afraid!” is not a rebuke but an encouragement.  “I AM WHO I AM” (Greek:  ego eimi –– literally “I am”) is God’s name (Exodus 3:14).  “Don’t be afraid” is also an encouragement rather than a rebuke.

VERSES 28-31:  YOU OF LITTLE FAITH, WHY DID YOU DOUBT?

28Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the waters.” 29He said, “Come!” Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus. 30But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

“Peter answered him and said, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the waters'” (v. 28).  It is the story of every Christian –– our story too –– as we move back and forth between doubt and faith –– sometimes focused on the storm and sometimes focused on Jesus. 

“He said, ‘Come!’ Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus” (v. 29).  For Peter, this is a moment both of weakness and strength.  He doubts, but wants to believe.  He fears, but steps out of a perfectly good boat into the storm. 

“But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out saying, ‘Lord, save me!'” (v. 30).  Peter calls out, “Lord, save me!” –– expressing faith even through his fear.

Jesus says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (v. 31b).  Jesus first saves Peter, then rebukes him. 

I hope you have made it this far through this.  I know it is long and full.  But the best is at the end.  Why?  Because is speaks of us who are following Jesus on the hard road.  In unknown conditions.  In the face of things we have not seen before.  As missionaries we have made a choice very similar to the disciples of Jesus’ time.  He said follow me and we are.  But there are no promises of calm seas and easy living.  What he does promise is to always be there and never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and this passage above is an extreme example, but a very good one for us and those who are going out in uncharted territory in their lives to serve God.

So, OUR HOPE.  It is in that God knows our journey and invites us anyway.  He knows we will have weak moments, times that we are afraid, and difficult times.  But when during all those times he is right there.  And when we start to sink and cry out to Him he will reach down and save us.  This part makes me reflect on the vision that brought me to my Lord Jesus in the first place.  Never having read this before, yet my words were, “Jesus, save me!”  How amazing and reaffirming is that?  And I know that my Lord is there as we feel like we are struggling in raising finances.  As we look at the waves that seem to be tossing us.  As we feel like we are sinking.  But do not lose heart!  Remember what Peter did and cry out to your Savior for he is already reaching out His hand to you.  Amen.

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