Last night I attended a fundraiser for a very special place called Tapestries of Life Ministries http://www.tapestriesoflife.com/. Pastor Steve, his wife Cathy, and hundreds of volunteers (brought by the hand of God) are building an orphanage in Guadalupe, Mexico: brick by brick; tile by tile.
The story behind The House of Gems (a beautiful name) is amazing; it is a story of God's love and faithfulness. Pastor Steve and Cathy have been working for the Lord for 20 years in a barren desert, where poor families line up for hours to receive one orange (this is all Pastor Steve could afford to give away in the beginning). Missionaries have come and gone, but Pastor Steve and Cathy could not leave the children.
Shacks made of tires or just plain garbage are often built over generations here, and the people take so much pride in the fact that they have a home. It is a place so desperately poor that a little boy is afraid to take off his shoes for fear someone will steal them, and when at last he takes them off, his little toes are bent and curled from wearing his shoes for so long.
Wonderful miracles are happening in this desert, though. God is at work to bring the orphans home:
"The Biblical mandate to take care of the widows and orphans is in the process of being fulfilled in the orphanage that is being built in Guadalupe, MX. This orphanage will house over 250 children and the government promised to fill it within 24 hours of when it's doors open with a small percentage of the over 7000 children that are living on the street in this area alone. This orphanage is being built by churches in America, Canada, and all over the world. May God's name be praised. However there is a lot of work that still needs to be done." --Tapestries of Life Website
It is a story of hope; a place of promise in a land so empty of promise. To give a child a life, a future, and most of all, the chance to meet Jesus.
I think the faces of the children will always be with me now. They've found a permanent home in my heart. Someday soon, I hope to be able to see The House of Gems and help Mercy Ministries as they distribute large bags of food to families that would surely starve without them.
Please keep them in your prayers and if you feel led, open your hearts to them, too.
"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." James 1:27
Since I've relocated my blog, I thought I would repost my first blog entry:May 10, 2006Hello Everyone!
Welcome to the Walter Martin Ministries site. For those of you who don’t know anything about me, I’m the eldest daughter of Dr. Walter Martin, the Original (and some might argue the only) Bible Answer Man.
We hope to be making many changes in the site in the coming months, including an internet radio broadcast addressing your questions and comments; a blog where we can get to know you, and you can tell us what you think (that might be a bit dangerous); an online game site for kids, based on my book Jack Star and the Secret Door; and hopefully, a brand new, total revamp of the site. Programmers, care to donate some time? Graphic Artists? Thanks to all of our wonderful supporters, our traffic on the site is in the 250,000 hits per month range, and we are grateful. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!
If you have a question, Kevin and I will do our best to respond to it, but we encourage you to brush up on your Google skills and do some footwork first. Unfortunately, I am not the Bible Answer Woman, and unlike CRI, with its millions of donations and flashy golf tournaments, we are short on staff and funds. If any of you would like to pay $15,000 to play a round of golf with me, please let me know. (I don’t play at all so you’d have an easy time of it.)
Seriously, though, I’m starting this blog because so many of you have written in with questions and comments, and I thought it would be great to share those comments with everyone coming to the sight. I also have a few opinions I’d like to share. Hopefully, this blog will encourage freedom of speech, but only if that speech is reasonably nice. Our site, by its very nature, draws people of all different backgrounds. We may disagree with each other’s theology, but let’s do it politely, okay? If you hate my father, get it out of your system and move on to more important things. I’m not a masochist, so don’t expect me to put up with character bashing. If you love my father, please feel free to comment ad infinitum.
I think that covers the intro, so on to a little bit about me. I’m currently working on my Master’s degree in Humanities with an emphasis on History, and a sub-emphasis on the History of Religion. How’s that for a mouthful? Anyone with a postgraduate degree knows you get pigeonholed fairly quickly in graduate school. I love theology (my BA is in Old Testament Literature), but God called me to the field of History and that is where I will stand—supported by theology—in the defense of the Faith. My husband, Kevin, is the theology wiz around here, and the computer genius responsible for everything on the Walter Martin site. I am also under contract to a large Christian publisher for a work I’m very excited about. I wish I could tell you more now, but believe me, it’s amazing. My father would be delighted. Hang around here, and you’ll find out more about it (as soon as I have the okay to talk away).
Finally, I was reading my devotions the other day and came upon this wonderful quote from Augustine (354 – 430 A.D.). For those of you who know little about him, here is a bit of history:
St. Augustine’s influence on Christianity is thought by many to be second only to that of St. Paul, and theologians, both Roman Catholic and Protestant, look upon him as one of the founders of Western theology. . . . (His mother) brought him up as a Christian, but he gave up his religion when he went to school at Carthage. There he became adept in rhetoric. In his Confessions he repents of his wild youth in Carthage, during which time he fathered an illegitimate son.1
After years of rebellion and discontent, Augustine repented and was baptized on Easter, 387 A.D. In this modern age of rebellion, when so many in the Church ignore or betray their first love; when too many pastors whisper a watered-down Gospel from the pulpit for fear of offending someone; when Christians worship openly with the enemies of Jesus Christ, the refreshing voice of Augustine can still be heard calling us back to our first love. He, too, had wandered far away:
"Too late came I to love You, O Beauty both ancient and ever new; too late came I to love You. Behold! You were within me, and I was out of myself searching for You. You, indeed, were with me, but I was not with You. You called to me; yes, You even broke open my deafness. Your beams shined unto me and cast away my blindness. You blew upon me, and I drew in my breath and panted after You. I tasted You, and now I hunger and thirst for You. You touched me, and I ever burn again to enjoy Your peace."2
I pray that all of us who truly love Jesus Christ may hunger, thirst, and burn to love him more.
Jill Martin Rische
"Beloved . . . contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude 31 http://www.bartleby.com/65/au/AugustnSt.html, May 10, 2006.2 http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/Prayers/augustine.html, May 10, 2006.
September 26, 2006
It is a beautiful day here in Minnesota. The leaves are changing color, and I confess it makes me a little sad. Soon, there will be snow on the ground and I will have to wait at least five months for spring to return. I think this sadness is a bit like the discouragement so many feel when facing a difficult time in their lives. Their world is changing; how long will it be before things get better?
Whenever I feel this way I always go to the Bible for comfort. Two years ago I made a commitment to God that His Word would be the first thing I read every day . . . and I kept my promise. It has transformed my life. I learned the truth and power of this verse:
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Heb 4:122
The Bible is so much more than just a book; it reveals the heart of Elohim, the great God of Creation. Every verse is infused with supernatural power that digs deep into the soil of the heart and tills, plants, waters, and weeds it. It enriches the spirit with wisdom, strength, and discipline. I cannot imagine my life without it. When I think of all the years I did not draw from this power, I am sad. There is so much I wish I could go back and change in my life, but I praise God for His forgiveness and His patience with me. "For He knows our frame;He remembers that we are dust." Ps 103:14 It is so comforting to know that I can go to God's Word and draw from His power anytime I need it. I may struggle sometimes with the changing seasons of life, but God has provided a way to triumph.
"Teach me to love thee as thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The baptism of the heaven-descended Dove,
My heart an altar and thy love the flame."
--George Croly and Frederick Atkinson
"Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart"
September 16, 2006
Recently, Rosie O'Donnell made a comment on the popular daytime TV show The View that was shocking, although not surprising, given Rosie's public in-your-face lesbianism and the Conservative Christian response to this tactic.
O'Donnell said: "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America."
Threatening - To be a source of danger to; menace (Dictionary.com)
Yes, believe it or not, she really said that. I could comment ad infinitum on this bizarre perspective, but instead I'll just post the email I sent to Barbara Walters at The View:
"Dear Ms. Walters,
America was founded by what many people today would consider to be "radical" Christians. The legacy they left was one of religious tolerance--I suppose some might have called that "dangerous".
When Rosie O'Donnell commented on The View last week that Christians were as dangerous to America as terrorists, I could not believe what I was hearing. As a Christian, I object to her odd and offensive characterization; I sincerely cannot recall any buildings that Christians have blown up in recent memory. I can think of thousands of hospitals and charities founded on Christian values, though, and I recall all the humanitarian aid given and kindness exhibited by so many American Christians over the years (many of whom would consider themselves "radical").
Christians may disagree with a lifestyle, but they are commanded to love, not to kill (unlike Mohammed's directive to his followers). What in all of this qualifies us as "dangerous"?
Rosie's attitude shows some ignorance of history and certainly a great deal of prejudice. It reflects poorly on your show, and on your decision to hire her. The warm, cheerful old Rosie appears to have evolved into a tough, hostile woman with a massive chip on her shoulder.
It is a very sad thing to see."
If you have a moment, drop Barbara Walters a note and let her know how you feel about Rosie O'Donnell's comment. http://abc.go.com/daytime/theview/index.html
Perhaps Rosie should try practicing what she thinks Christians need to practice: tolerance. There is never any excuse for prejudice.