The Maxfields

The Maxfields

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Confessions from a Future Missionary Kid

I've been learning and studying a lot on St. Augustine these past few months, and in that time, I have been completely awed by this man's awareness of the holiness and splendor of our God. From a wretched, sinful man, to a holy, Christian Saint, Augustine had an amazing comprehension of the Lord. I am blessed to have an insight into his joy and faith that he put into words as I've been reading his Confessions.

As I've been reading Augustine's book, it has a different meaning to me than it might to most. The comfort and blessing of our journey to Sacred Road is sustained in my heart as I learn more about the majestic, merciful, awesome Father in heaven. This book has been just what I have needed to help me through some doubts during the past month.

If you haven't read John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress or Augustine's Confessions, I highly suggest that you do. When I face trials on the Rez, I really think these two books will encourage me and I know they will encourage you.

St. Augustine has been such a light for me in this journey.There is no doubt that the Lord has been at work in my heart while reading, and that He has been showing me that I can fulfill His call.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hope Fellowship

We spent Sunday with our Hope Fellowship friends at their second service in the new building. The building is awesome! It's so great to see all of the hard work finally paid off. It looks great. The kids love their new church and it was such a blessing to see all of them worshiping together.
Each time we visit, I am reminded of how much I love sitting in between the little ones, pointing at the words on the pages for them to follow along. Their sweet hugs and voices make me smile; I am blessed to know them. I can't wait to be back - I miss them already!

Veronica's bus

The tire swing was a HUGE hit




My sweet friends
Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.
Praise the Lord.
// Psalm 113: 5-7, 9

Friday, May 16, 2014

True Fasting

Life on the Yakama Indian Reservation:
  • life expectancy of 39 years old
  • 75% of the children have some form of disability
  • the drop-out rate between grades 6 through 12 is 65%
  • the rate of unemployment is 75%
  • 70% of teens in White Swan are functionally homeless
  • four out of five children are subject to physical or sexual abuse before they reach 14 years of age
  • all Yakama people are deeply affected by drug and alcohol abuse
  • only 2% of Native Americans claim to be Christian

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed to free, and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted , then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.   Isaiah 58:6-7, 9b-10

The Lord calls us to action.  The Lord calls his servants to follow him.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.   John 12:25-26

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pilgrim's Progress

I just finished reading a wonderful condensed version of Pilgrim's Progress by Gary D. Schmidt.   Rachel had recently read it as part of her assigned reading at her school.  When she was done reading it, she said, "Mom, you would love this book.  You really should read it."  She was right.  I could hardly put it down. 

I really think it's something every Christian should read every few years.  A great reality check of which city we might be stuck in or who we are currently taking advice from along this path of life. 

The thing I loved while I read it were the notes Rachel had written in the margins as she read through it.  Here were a few examples:

As Christian is leaving the City of Destruction, two people (Obstinate and Pliable) urge Christian to return to the City of Destruction.  Christian encourages them to come away with him to the Celestial City.  Obstinate jeers, "And leave our comforts?"  Pliable scoffs, "And our friends?"   Rachel writes in the margin, "missionary calling".  I had tears as I read this.  The Lord is calling my children too and it is by God's grace that they are hearing His voice and following. 

The various characters that Christian meets along the way to the Celestial City are so interesting to me.  One is Mr. Worldly-Wise --  at which point Rachel wrote this in the margin, "He's making Christian think that he could be happy in the world, but there is eternity to think about."

As Christian enters the Valley of the Shadow of Death he says, "But if this is the only way to the Celestial City, what choice do we have but to go through it?"  Rachel writes, "But if God has called us to do it for his glory, what choice do we have but to fulfill his will?" 

And then there are the wonderful characters Christian meets along the way....a man named Help who takes Christian's hand and helps him when fear has overwhelmed Christian in the mud and bog water.  Rachel writes, "there will be trials that will test our faith."   And then the wonderful friend, Faithful, who travels with Christian into the town of Vanity Fair.  I sometimes still find the town of Vanity Fair enamoring me here on the eastside. 

As I read, I couldn't help but think of our dear brothers and sisters in Christ who are walking alongside of us and cheering us on as we journey to Sacred Road.  Sometimes my feet stumble.  Sometimes I question if we can really do this.  Sometimes my eyes get shifted off of the Celestial City.  Just when that happens, someone grabs my hand, whispers a word of encouragement, and helps me secure my footing back to the Celestial City.  It is truly a blessing. 

I'm not sure I've ever read the full version of Pilgrim's Progress, but this version was perfect and once again, a lovely, timely example as the Lord spoke to me through it.

Thank you to everyone who has come alongside of our family.  You represent the characters Faithful, Helpful, Hopeful.  Your love for the Lord shines brightly.  Thank you for your continued prayers, words of encouragement and financial partnership.

Psalm 118:23 "This is the Lord's doing.  It is marvelous in our eyes." 


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

Recently, I've been going through a book of Charles Spurgeon's sermons on spiritual warfare with a couple guys from church (Spiritual  Warfare in a Believer's Life, by Charles Spurgeon).  The timing has been appropriate, as all three of us are going through period's in our lives in which we are particularly susceptible to "the flaming darts of the evil one." (Ephesians 5:16)

In the second half of the group of sermons Spurgeon preaches on the armor of God in Ephesians 5.  The most recent chapter was on verse 15, "and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace."  There were several passage that were very helpful to me and I thought I would quote a few for the benefit of all 3 people that read this blog.  I think you'll understand why they spoke to me as you read.

"If we continue in the love of Jesus, pleasing Him in all things, jealously watching and carefully observing His will, our mind will be kept by the peace of God that passes all understanding, and our road to heaven will be a pleasant one.  While it may indeed be very rough in itself and in the judgment of others, it will be so smoothed to us by the peace that reigns within that we shall glory in weakness, exult in suffering, and triumph in distress, knowing that the Lord is with us and no harm can come to us." (pgs. 142-143)

"It is also a grand sandal for a pilgrim's foot when the gospel of peace has fully conformed the pilgrim's mind to the Lord's will.  Some children of God are not at peace with God, because they do not fully acquiesce in the diving purposes.  To them, the pilgrim path must be a painful one, for nothing can please them.  Their unfortified self-will creates swarms of vexations for them, but to hearts that have crucified self and yielded all to the will of God, the most thorny paths are pleasant.  He who can say concerning all things 'Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in they sight,' is prepared for all ways and weathers and may march on undismayed. Fully conformed to the divine will, saints are invulnerable and invincible, 'none shall be weary nor stumble among them; . . . neither shall the . . . latchet of their shoes be broken' (Isaiah 5:27).

Surely it is when the heart is completely at one with God that the true beauty of the Christian character is seen.  Shod with perfect delight in the will of the Lord, we are able to surmount all the difficulties and trials of the way, for it becomes sweet to suffer when we see that it is the will of God.  Resignation is good, but perfect acquiescence is better, and happy is the man who feels it.  No silver sandals were ever so precious, no buskins of golden mail adorned with precious stones were so glorious to look upon as a mind molded to the divine will, perfectly in tune with the mind of the Lord Most High." (pg. 143)

If this is not foolishness to the world, I don't know what is.  I continue to pray that I will not be like the authorities of Jesus' time that believed in him, but did not confess it because they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.  (John 12:42-43)

We are doing a "foolish" thing.  It is a strong temptation to hold in great esteem the glory that comes from man.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17)