What to do about our world?

Allow me to connect the dots.

When I survey the scene of our world today, I’ll be honest; it leaves me feeling a bit down. Not for the dishonest politicians, or the global refugee crisis, or any other current disaster or dilemma but for one thing more specific…the effects of sin.

It ‘s not a surprise to me or at least it shouldn’t be. We are promised in God’s Word that evil will only increase (Matt. 24:21, 2 Tim. 3:12-13) until the return of our Lord. So I know that the Lord is not shocked by the state of our world today but in fact it is why he came. He knew what our world needed, what you needed and what I needed even before we were in existence because of the stain of sin. He could see what it did, does and would do to us. Why am I talking about this?

Well I am sure that some people who are like me. You watch the news, you listen to people, you see things happening in this world and you feel like it is just getting so bad out there. I just want to encourage you because if you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior…you are part of the solution to the greatest problem facing mankind today. Maybe you don’t think you are that important or that you could make a difference but that is just what the enemy the Devil would love for you to think. The truth is, you are dangerous to sin because if you know Christ, you know the antidote. If you are a Christian then you know the remedy. Jesus Christ wants to help our world even more than we do and he chooses to use regular people like you and me, wherever he has us. For us it’s in Panama. For you it’s where you are. But as a friend of mine once said to me…wherever you are, be there. Which means, be fully present. Be ready to be counted for the Kingdom. Share the Love of Jesus Christ with people any way you can and any place you can. Never stop. Never give up. Never relent. It is the only solution and YOU HAVE IT.

Don’t be discouraged my friends. If you can’t figure out which person to vote for, or if you can’t live over seas to hold orphan babies or you can’t stop people from fighting or lying or killing. Don’t be discouraged. Be bold with your love and the message of Jesus Christ and what he did on the cross more than 2000 years ago. You are full of power and as the darkness gets darker may you respond with even brighter light.

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Pray For Muslims and Panama

Hello Family in Christ! Please keep Panama on your prayer list. Just like in the United States and around the world, the spiritual climate in Panama is changing rapidly. One of the fastest growing groups here in Panama is the Muslims.

In fact, less than 20 minutes from my house is a “Muslim Education Center” in El Espino, Panama. It has the capacity for more than 2000 people and they’re in the midst of building it bigger! According to local sources, Muslim followers travel from countries around Central and South America specifically to come here and receive training. Some have even said that this is quickly and intentionally becoming a Muslim capital for Central America. One of the strategies utilized by Islamic followers around Latin America is a “Business As Missions” model. We ourselves have noticed that it’s increasingly common in stores, marketplaces or dealerships to find symbols of Islam or hear praise music to Allah. I share all this to present this as one more reason to ask for prayer for this group of people and the country of Panama as a whole.

The people in this country are in the midst of a spiritual battle. The fight for human souls is real and eternity hangs in the balance. We know that our best weapons are spiritual and Christ is our leader. We’re asking believers to pray with us, for us and for the progress of the Gospel, the Church and believers here. It is an honor to stand together with the citizens of heaven. Praying Kingdom-Minded Prayers!

2 Corinthians 10:3-4

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

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Meet the Gang!

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On the ground in Panama right now, are 1 single, 2 families and…3 dogs! It’s quite a crew and there is never a dull moment as you can imagine. I think this picture is our best attempt to look like a Rock Band!  Please continue to remember us in your prayers. The work is real and very soon I will post more updates about what is happening here in Panama in more detail. Please remember that your support is how we are able to continue to live and minister here. We thank all those that have been faithfully standing with us and we invite more people to come on board and help us move this ministry forward! Come be a part of what God is doing in Panama!

Click Here to Support the Fowler Family!

 

 

 

Children of our Father

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Matthew 5:45 says, “…that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

I am one of those people that believe that God is actually, intimately involved in every single, little detail of our lives. Fault me if you like, I can take it; but because of the Bible, I believe we are objects of his great love and he loves to demonstrate it in a various ways every day whether we have the eyes to see it or not. Whether we ask for it or care about it, he does it. He makes the sun shine on the righteous and the unrighteous every day. He makes the rain fall for the Godly and the ungodly every day. Some of us are conscious of it while others try not to be.

This doesn’t mean we always understand things or interpret our circumstances in the way God wants us to or means us to understand them and that is why it is so critical that we have God’s written Word to consult in our daily lives. There is no substitute for that. However, with that said, at times there are moments that make me smile when I believe God’s communicating his caring presence in ways we weren’t even looking for. One of those happened yesterday for us as we were taking a brief road trip here in Panama. Let me share.

As we were traveling on a road that we’ve never been on, heading to the Atlantic side of Panama in the direction of Colon we started to hear a strange sound. We were driving up a long hill and at first we thought it was the rough road we were on. Moments later we realized it was a flat tire. Super bummed and in between towns, I knew I just had to get the spare on and this would probably change our plans for the day. However as I got it free from under the car and started to bring it to the front right side, Bianca pointed out immediately opposite to us, on the other side of the street was a small, stand alone building that said “Llantas” which means “Tires”.

Now I know some will think that I am making more of this story than I ought to but it really made me smile that we would have that particular problem in that particular spot of all the problems and all the spots in Panama that could’ve been encountered. I talked with the man running the shop. His name was Esteban and he said it would take $4 to fix the tire. All I can say is God is so cool!

We ended up giving him more than that and we even shared some Gospel literature with him but I just marvel at the way God makes things work out. Not all of our problems occur like that or resolve so smoothly. Certainly Christians are not promised a problem-free life by any means but there are times when I think God enjoys communicating his presence to us in ways that we know only he could have done. All the praise goes to Him. My encouragement to anyone is to watch for God more in every moment of your lives. He is there. Maybe not as we would expect to find him but he does not sleep and he is watching over each person in ways we don’t know about every day. Speaking of that, keep Esteban in your prayers. Perhaps the Lord will use our tire problem for his salvation if he places his trust in Christ as a result of what he reads.

Easy and Light

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus Christ

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                         Traffic In Panama

Can there be sweeter words from the mouth of Jesus?

There have been times in the past few years specifically when I have been exhausted in ways that I didn’t even know I could be. Constantly pushing against things and working to get myself, my family or a ministry to that place where you feel ready, comfortable, prepared, productive or whatever…it gets tiring. Many of the most tiring battles have been internal. One of the biggest battles has been learning to discern between “the voices”. Now before you get concerned that I am going off the deep-end or maybe even more crazy than you already thought I was, let me explain.

Yes, it’s true. I hear voices. I’ll confess. And yes, some of them are audible. In fact, some of them might even be yours. Other voices may be just imagined in my head or actually my own voice and sometimes I even think I hear God’s voice, though not out loud. Now if you’re counting…that’s a lot of voices. Out of them all the most important has to be God’s or so I have to remind myself… almost every day. Why? Because almost all the time, I am conscious of all kinds of people and their expectations, wants or desires. Whether I am thinking about my agency ReachGlobal, my supporters and churches, or my family back home. Even here in Panama there are people or groups of people that have ideas about my life or desires they would like me to satisfy even though they might be implicit or never even stated. Sometimes it feels like virtually everyone around me has an expectation or desire for me including of course–myself.

Now if I begin to think for one second that it’s possible to start pleasing all these people or groups of people I start to play a game, a game I hate. The Game I am talking about is that rat race of craziness where I actually try to run around and satisfy the desires or expectations all those people or groups of people. Unfortunately I have tried to do this way too many times and I know from experience that it always leads me back to the same exhausted spot, wondering how to hear the voice of the one that really matters through all the noise – God.

Then I remember this verse and suddenly it has new meaning to me. I think I know how Jesus had such an easy yoke and such a light burden despite the true fact that he was/is the actual SAVIOR of the WORLD! Of course it’s not that people didn’t have desires or expectations of him. All over the Gospels we read about how people wanted him to leave, come, heal, speak, touch, be king, be dead, be gone, or whatever. I don’t think anybody has ever had more expectations on them than Jesus. YET he says his yoke is easy and burden is light…HOW can that be?

I think it’s surprisingly simple.

He knew that he had only one voice to listen to. He knew he had only one set of expectations to obey. He knew he had only one being in his life to please…His Heavenly Father. Everyone else just didn’t compare. So what does this mean?

This means, I have to learn to listen to one and only one voice in my life – really. There is truly, only one voice to listen to and obey…the voice of our Heavenly Father. Others may not like that. Some will literally hate that but that is the only way to live if you don’t want to be frazzled, exhausted or crazy at the end of your day, week or life. Moreover, I will add that if people really care about you, like they say they do, they will agree and support this too. They will agree that each of us is never in a better place than when we are fully obeying the voice of our Creator with an undivided heart. Furthermore, when we are listening to just His voice, I will bet that we will find ourselves being more of what we need to be for all of those other people anyway as a natural byproduct of lives living focused on God.

So, make it easy. Listen for God’s voice and do what He says and do it every day and let the other voices go.  I need to keep this in check because the very idea is under attack all day long. His voice is competing constantly with all the other voices around me all the time. So my ears must be trained and attuned to that specific note of my heavenly Father’s voice. This comes only one way. We must get used to His voice.   And in case you’re wondering, the most common way for Him to speak to us is through his written Word every time we read it. The more we read it, the more we know it. When we read God’s Word, we hear God’s voice. We note his tone. We familiarize ourselves with his uniquely, sweet sound. We learn about his passions. We understand his desires and expectations for us and then we get to live by them.

Easy & Light.

Just a Reflection on Psalm 1

  
May this encourage those who read it. Amen.

6 verses.The book of Psalms starts off with this short Psalm that basically describes 2 ways to live your life.

Every one of us has a choice to make. That choice is a choice we make once but we reconfirm it every single day of our lives.

1 Way (Verses 1-3)

2 Way (Verse 4-5)

The Reason & Non-negotiable fact (Verse 6)

Look at Way 1…

Described first because it is the better choice:

1. Blessed is the man.

“Bless” is the most common OT Word. It means….ברך to praise; to bless; (pt. pass) blessed, filled with strength, full; praised, adored; to wish on oneself a blessing.

In other words, it is everything you want out of life. To be happy, strong, loved, adored, treasured, important…So why don’t we pay attention to this?

What does a “Blessed” man do that makes him so different? That is the question we are supposed to ask ourselves here…

1. He does not walk… in the counsel of the wicked

2. He does not stand…in the way of sinners

3. He does not sit…in the seat of mockers.

Do you see this graduation? This is a process of degradation and erosion. Slowly this person is getting more and more comfortablewhere they should not be. Walk..Stand..Sit. With the Wicked, Sinners & Mockers.

What should we note here?  

We shoould get up out of the company of mockers. We should move away from the Sinners that are so comfortable with and not walk with the wicked who will corrupt us. This is the corruption process taking place before us. It is slow but it is active and it works. I don’t believe that most people usually specifically set out to “do evil and wicked” things. Or moreover become a wicked person. Now it happens and it happens a lot but I don’t believe this describes the conscious actions of most people. In saying that I don’t believe in the “moral goodnesss” of mankind. I do believe in the depravity of man. We are sinners and we all sin. But many people don’t set out with this expressed purpose in their day. They instead are not intentional about NOT doing this and because of that this process can take place. little by little, day by day, we find ourselves eventually in the wrong place with the wrong people doing the wrong things. That is the corruption process.

En cambio, (On the contrary) what the “Blessed” man does that is different is what he delights in and what he enjoys…The Law of the Lord.

How strange right? It would seem that Laws of any kind would be anything but enjoyable or delightful but this man actually loves it so much that he ponders it and revels in it at least 2 times in each 24 hour periods. Now this phrase “day and night” is certainly a literary device intended to mean constantly. He is constantly reading and thinking about the Law of the Lord. It is pleasureable activity for him. WHY?
 

There is something about it that he loves. I hazard to guess that it is simply because of Who’s law it is and not ncessarily what the Law is. He loves knowing God.

It would be like if you went up into your parents attic on eday and whle moving things around, you found a love letter from your great, great, great grandparents to eachother. Wouldn’t you be the least bit tempted to read it? Not for any other reason than to know their minds and their hearts? Even though it wasn’t a letter to you, to be able to go back and know something intimate about them and their relationship would be special and cool for lots of reasons.

Now take it to the next level.

When we have the Law of God, we have written

down for our enjoyment the expressed and written desires of God for our lives. And this is a letter addressed to us. The Whole Bible is written down for us to read. If you want to know what God thinks, read what God wrote – for you! If you want to know God listen to his words that came from him.

This is where I like to remind people that it is quite possible to know ABOUT someone and never really KNOW someone. For example, Many of us can recite the statistics of our favorite athletes or sing the songs of our favorite musicians but how many of us can name their favorite ice cream? or know where their birth marks are? Only those who know those people intimately can answer those questions, like husbands, wives, mothers and fathers and close friends, etc. There is a different level of knowing God that is possible when we know his words. We move from knowing about him to knowing his mind and his desires. And then of course the ultimate form of knowing God comes finally, completely, and exclusively through a relationship with his son Jesus Christ. He himself calls us his friends in fact and shows beyond doubt, his desire to have deep intimacy with us. (See John 15:15) 

Now in case you doubted the value of this pursuit, look at the result. Look at the product of this repetative action in someone’s life. (See verse 3)

Look at the endurance the “Blessed” man has. Look at the provision he enjoys, the strength, the usefulness he offers and the success he has in life. It is hard not to desire the product that he enjoys.

Now compare this all to the alternative way of living.

The “Wicked” man does not endure. He is not well established. He is useless and in fact can’t even stand in te judgement or with the Righteous. It is the end result that we forget. Beccause during regular life, day-today living it often seems as though the wicked are prospering and that the picture is in fact inverted but in reality we are only reading one page in one chapter of a very long book. The final outcome will be very different than what daily moments might suggest. We must never forget that God’s Words are always true. He does not lie. The things we see with our eyes, from our vatnage points in our microseconds on the timeline of humanity are not all there is to see. God however sees it all. He has a field of vision that encompasses all of humanity and all of recorded time and space and all of history and so our question with this conclusion is really just “do we trust God to tell us the truth?”

I trust Him and His Word because God is the only source of total truth and His word will endure forever. (1 Pet. 1:24-25)

Verse 6 is my final reflection.

The secret to the Blessed man is that the Lord watches over him and the Wicked have no such help. Now God shows love and mercy to both because he causes the Sun to shine on everyone and has given life and breath to everyone BUT there is another assurance that the Blessed man has beacuse he has a relationship with His maker and his Creator remembers him and he his Creator every day.

Lord give me this kind of relationship.

WE (Still) Need You!

   

Dear friends, I will cut to the chase. One of the realities for most modern missionaries is the need to raise their own support for life and ministry. This is certainly true in the case of our family. Everything that we do in Panama could not be done without people doing this with us as a team–one sacrifice at a time.  
It has been a long road to get to where we are and we praise the Lord because all the progress has been made by His grace and we know this. We have seen how He has moved here in Panama to begin foundation laying for the ministry; how he has carried us along as a family to open a new team for ReachGlobal in this country and how he has continued to move on the hearts of people behind us in the country we came from to remember us. It is those prayers and gifts that sustain his work here. God is Awesome!

In this moment we need to communicate that we are STILL in need of your support and your prayers. Yes we are here in the country and Yes things are happening but that only continues if people remember to stand with us. We started support raising three years ago, in the summer of 2012. Over the course of time 2 things have happened and neither are surprises to us. Firstly, people’s commitments have changed. Life situations, jobs, marriages and other circumstances have required that people change or stop giving. Of course we understand this completely but this then opens the place for new On-Going supporters to carry the ball if they feel so led by the Lord. We hope you might consider taking on this challenge of a regular commitment monthly, annually or some other interval that works for you and our agency will average out the gift over the year. If so please pray and click this link to SUPPORT THE FOWLER’s. Give as you feel the Lord telling you to give but know that you are needed now and we are grateful for both your Prayers & Donations! 

The Second happening is that ,by Gods grace we have developed ministry in Panama that already needs more resources! We are realizing that the more we have the more we can accomplish. Recently, our English Class Outreach has become an effective tool to connect with Panamanians, build relationships and communicate the Gospel. We saw 7 Panamanians come to Christ in the first week and because of them and others, we held a follow up Bible Study in an area that could be an option for a future church plant. One of these 3-month English course requires about $500 to hold with materials, supplies and snacks for the class and this is just one example of a ministry tool.  Whatever the vehicle may be, our heart is to see the Church and its’ Leaders strengthend or started here in Panama for God’s Kingdom locally and globally. We pray that every platform we use moves us toward that end. Please pray with us about how you can help because we still need you! 

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Graduation night for the boys!