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Doulos International ~ Robert Barkley

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Post  Admin on Fri 17 Apr 2015, 10:31 pm

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:9) . Posted by: rxbarkley

Scripture: Matthew 5:9—“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” 

Reflection: We are always part of the family, children of our parents. As such, we look like them and have many of their personality traits, not to mention their DNA. Children of God are no spiritual exception—as they grow, they display more and more the character of their Father in heaven. When the Incarnate God lived on this earth, he was the “prince of peace” and one New Testament writer used the phrase “making peace by the blood of his cross.” 

After the first four beatitudes describe the creature’s approach to the creator, the next three describe the character of God which will begin to display itself in his children. They will be merciful, pure, and go about making peace—because that is what the Father does—and because we are part of the family. 


Prayer Starter: God, we live in a world of warfare and turmoil. Humans talk peace and love, but practice violence and deception. You have given your children the inner peace of your presence. Overflow in us to bring peace to the people around us—the frustrated, bitter, and angry who do not know you—the source of all peace and love. Amen. 

rxbarkley [doulosinternational]

 
Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:10


Scripture: Matthew 5:10—“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Reflection: Remember that Satan hates you. His purpose is to destroy, debilitate, and lead astray those who would serve God—and he has been phenomenally successful in his work. Stand for anything good and you will be opposed. Not everyone wants the good to win. Evil always wants to pull down the people around, infecting them with its corruption. You can see this in the influence companions have on the young—it is often through associates that a young man or woman is led into sin and trapped by evils he never intended to pursue.

There are Christians being killed for their faith in God in our modern world. Their deaths do not much make the news, but there are hundreds of them each year around the globe. In less severe ways, expect opposition and persecution anytime you make a commitment for something right, good, and blessed by God.

Prayer Starter: Our Father, thank you for the blessed peace that comes from knowing you. You will be the ultimate winner in life’s battles with evil. We are suffering some pain and injuries, but never a true defeat as long as you are living within us and leading us by your Spirit. Make our commitment stronger, our endurance longer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Post  Admin on Thu 16 Apr 2015, 9:55 pm

Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:33 am (PDT) . Posted by: rxbarkley
Doulos Meditation for September 8 


Scripture: Matthew 5:8—“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” 

Reflection: God is completely incompatible with evil—even small amounts. He is righteous and this quality of his nature is as infinite and absolute as any other. The person who seeks God cannot bring with him the baggage of the flesh. He cannot stand in God’s presence with a sin-stained life that calls forth only wrath and condemnation. 

If I have surrendered myself to God, he cleanses me by the blood of Jesus. I become pure in heart, not because of my own intrinsic goodness, but because of his loving kindness which I have received by faith. The purity God produces in people of faith opens to us new understandings and visions of God in this life—and in eternity, a whole new horizon of experience of “seeing” God as never before. 


Prayer Starter: Dear God, cleanse me so I may have a pure heart before you. Destroy all that is within me coming from my old sinful self, and give birth within me to a new life that comes from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the Christ. In the name of the savior, Amen. 

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:9
rxbarkley [doulosinternation
Scripture: Matthew 5:9—“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”

Reflection: We are always part of the family, children of our parents. As such, we look like them and have many of their personality traits, not to mention their DNA. Children of God are no spiritual exception—as they grow, they display more and more the character of their Father in heaven. When the Incarnate God lived on this earth, he was the “prince of peace” and one New Testament writer used the phrase “making peace by the blood of his cross.”

 
After the first four beatitudes describe the creature’s approach to the creator, the next three describe the character of God which will begin to display itself in his children. They will be merciful, pure, and go about making peace—because that is what the Father does—and because we are part of the family.


Prayer Starter: God, we live in a world of warfare and turmoil. Humans talk peace and love, but practice violence and deception. You have given your children the inner peace of your presence. Overflow in us to bring peace to the people around us—the frustrated, bitter, and angry who do not know you—the source of all peace and love. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Wed 15 Apr 2015, 9:53 pm

Doulos Meditation for Matthew 5:7

Scripture: Matthew 5:7—“Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.”

Reflection: The first four beatitudes are heavy with paradox and portray the human before God. The next three change tone, however, and show us the nature of God which he will build in the believer. God is rich in mercy and he has commanded his children to show mercy to others.

The “flow-through” nature of God’s gifts is apparent. Because God loves us we are able to love others. He forgives—we must forgive others. He is merciful—we must show mercy.

What is the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea ? The first has water that is clear, clean, and life sustaining. The latter has water that is polluted, smelly, and deadly to plants and fish. What is the difference? The Galilee’s Sea receives the runoff of rain and snow from the north, but the Jordan river flows out of it on the south, winding its way through a dry, hot valley to the Dead Sea . There is no flow-through. This sea is a geological cistern, holding water heavy with minerals, but allowing no water to leave except by evaporation.

Prayer Starter: Our Father, we want to show mercy to our fellow humans because you have had mercy on us. You forgive, lead, comfort, and empower us. How can we deny these gifts to others? Make us channels of your blessings. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Posted by: rxbarkley

Posted by: rxbarkley[doulosinternational]
Catholic-Vote:
TUESDAY, APRIL 14

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ABORTION // House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, told reporters he intends to bring 20-week abortion ban back to the House floor this year.http://cvote.it/1DcP0CL 

FAMILY // "My Father Was Gay. Why I Oppose Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage"  http://cvote.it/1DcPqsK
2016 // Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, is "seriously considering" a presidential run in 2016. http://cvote.it/1DcPXe6

CATHOLIC IDENTITY // Did Catholic traditionalists save Patricia Jannuzzi's job?  http://cvote.it/1DcQ9Kr

CV BLOG // 'A.D.: The Bible Continues': Apostles Peter and John speak.  http://cvote.it/1DcQyg3

SAINT OF THE DAY // St. Paul has a conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Well, Blessed Peter Gonzalez was on his way to Astorga when he horse stumbled and fell, leaving Peter in the mud.  http://cvote.it/Daily-Saint

TODAY'S READINGS // Get today's readings: http://cvote.it/Daily-Readings

THINGS JESUS NEVER SAID //  by CatholicGag


Doulos Meditation for September 8

Scripture: Matthew 5:8—“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Reflection: God is completely incompatible with evil—even small amounts. He is righteous and this quality of his nature is as infinite and absolute as any other. The person who seeks God cannot bring with him the baggage of the flesh. He cannot stand in God’s presence with a sin-stained life that calls forth only wrath and condemnation.

If I have surrendered myself to God, he cleanses me by the blood of Jesus. I become pure in heart, not because of my own intrinsic goodness, but because of his loving kindness which I have received by faith. The purity God produces in people of faith opens to us new understandings and visions of God in this life—and in eternity, a whole new horizon of experience of “seeing” God as never before.


Prayer Starter: Dear God, cleanse me so I may have a pure heart before you. Destroy all that is within me coming from my old sinful self, and give birth within me to a new life that comes from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus the Christ. In the name of the savior, Amen. 
Posted by: rxbarkley
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Post  Admin on Tue 14 Apr 2015, 4:34 pm

Doulos Meditation on I Corinthians 6:18

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:18—“Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.”


Reflection: Have you got a beautiful body? Is your body disabled or overweight? Is it healthy or sick? Do you obsess about your body? How much do you spend each month to improve your body, hide its blemishes or keep it functioning?  


As Christians, we still have bodies, but we know we are more than flesh and blood. We see these bodies with a new understanding. The new life God gives us is more than mere biological life—I am spirit and soul as well—and my body is a tool for me to use. It is a functional gift from God.  


Don’t misunderstand. Christians are not opposed to sex, health, exercise, pleasure or good grooming. But they are committed to using God’s gifts responsibly—to using their bodies to glorify God. They offer back to God what he has first given to them—bodies that are nurtured, disciplined and reserved for what is right, selfless and pure before God.


Prayer Starter: “Our Father and Creator. Thank you for our bodies in which we live and with which we honor you. Possess and guide us that we may always use our bodies as you have prescribed and as vehicles for expressing your love to others.”
Posted by: rxbarkley
 
Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:6

Scripture: Matthew 5:6—“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Reflection: Jesus spoke strange words. From a human viewpoint, how could we ever connect blessedness (happiness) with being hungry and thirsty? But wait—who is it that enjoys food as never before? That’s it—the fellow who is really, really hungry. And who appreciates a drink of cool water more than the man in the desert who is about to succumb to the blazing sun?


Righteousness is the inner character of God which in the believer provides the basis for a relationship with God that brings peace and joy. When I hunger and thirst for this righteousness, I am yearning for the nature of God. The greatest gift he gives is the gift of himself. And the more aware I am of my hunger and thirst, the more I praise God for the filling he provides through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.


Prayer Starter:  We are hungry for your righteousness, dear God, and we thirst for your presence in our lives. Fill us from your table with eternal food and drink. Make us to rejoice at your banquet forever. Amen.  

Posted by: rxbarkley
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Post  Admin on Sun 12 Apr 2015, 3:50 pm

Doulos Meditation On Matthew 5:4
Posted by: rxbarkley
 

Scripture: Matthew 5:4—“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Posted by: rxbarkley
 
Reflection: Do you know someone who refuses to be serious? About anything? Having fun is great unless it becomes a pathological way of denying reality—a defense mechanism that keeps a person from dealing with life? 

 
Though the Christian is a happy person, there are times when mourning is appropriate and nothing else will do. If I can’t be cut to the heart inside and mourn over the tragedy of my own bad choices, no healing and forgiveness can come about. But notice Jesus said the person who can mourn appropriately is blessed (remember that “blessed” means happy). What a paradox—happy is the mourner.

 
We live in a world where sorrow is built in. Not yet are we free from war, poverty, violence, and a thousand ugly things that inhabit civilization. Someday we shall be free of all these, but in the meantime there are sins to be repented of and tragedies to be mourned—and it is right and healthy to do so. It leads to happiness. 


Prayer Starter: God, our association with you as believers is such a joy. But it has also provided us with regrets and sorrows. We are touched by the evil in our world, the rebellion in those who avoid your love, the pain we have brought on ourselves and others. Teach us to laugh at the funny things and to mourn when it is needed. Amen. 

Doulos Meditation for Matthew 5:5
Posted by: rxbarkley
Scripture: Matthew 5:5—“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

Reflection: Another paradox from Jesus. Inherit the earth? Really? But what was earth created for anyway? Maybe after humans get through with it we won’t find it much of a place to inherit.


The meek are not the cowards of this world—just the opposite. Meekness means getting caught up into something indescribably greater than ourselves—getting lost in something magnificent. The person who really knows does not feel compelled to argue with the young upstart who hasn’t a clue. The body builder who can lift hundreds of pounds doesn’t feel obligated to prove his strength to a twelve year old.

 
To be meek is to know that our Father owns this universe and He is in control. We have nothing to prove—nothing that needs our defense—nothing that invites our bragging. We are caught up in His purposes and plan and that is the meaning of our lives. Whatever He intends earth’s purposes to be will be—and we will inherit the blessing.


Prayer Starter: Lord, show us that a quiet spirit, an humble heart, and soft words are not the possession of the weak and cowardly, but characteristic of those who fear nothing because they have committed to you all they are and have. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Post  Admin on Fri 10 Apr 2015, 12:13 pm

Doulos Meditation on Matthew 1:1
Wed Apr 8, 2015 3:24 pm (PDT) . Posted by: rxbarkley
Matthew 1:1—“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” 


Reflection: Why would Matthew begin with a genealogy? Maybe he is pointing to two basic truths about the Messiah: he came because of God’s promise to Abraham, and his coming was symbolized by the great king David. 

Both the words Messiah and Christ mean “anointed.” In antiquity, the special appointments of prophets, priests, and kings were accompanied by official “anointing.” Jesus delivered the message of redemption (he became our prophet), he offered the sacrifice of himself on a cross (he is our high priest) and in himself the reign of God came to earth (he is our king). 

Two of Jesus’ forefathers were especially important in Matthew’s thought. Abraham was the man who trusted God and King David was a “man after God’s own heart.” To both of them God made great promises and in Jesus God delivered on his promises. 

Prayer Starter: “Our Father, you have been faithful to your promises. We accept with all our hearts the Messiah you have sent and the King you have crowned. We look to Jesus as our prophet, our priest, and our king and we praise you for your gift. Amen. 


Doulos Meditation on Matthew 5:3 by rxbarkley
Scripture: Matthew 5:3—“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 

Reflection: Is there such a thing as real happiness? Is some happiness only fake, shallow and temporary? “Blessed” is the bible word for deep happiness. But here is one of those frustrating paradoxes so prevalent in the New Testament—deep happiness connected with a word like “poor”—how can that be? And the Greek word doesn’t mean sort of poor—it means absolutely destitute, like a beggar in the street is poor. 

Only when I recognize fully my human condition, can I receive God’s gifts. If I truly know my emptiness, He can fill me. As I surrender my weakness, He can empower me. If I know my own filthiness, He can cleanse me. To claim I am strong, good, intelligent, have it all together—is to persist in blindness and stupidity—and worse still, to make myself unable to receive the riches of the kingdom of heaven. 


Prayer Starter: Oh, Lord, show me your glory and make me very aware of my poverty and helplessness. Teach me to look to you for every blessing. Never let me rest in the illusion that I have anything good apart from you. Amen. 

Jesus said, "He who would be greatest must be servant (doulos) to all." Doulos International is a network of Christians sharing the message of Jesus, glorifying God through service to others.  

Visit our interactive YAHOO GROUP at: 
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/doulosinternational/
Visit our non-interactive meditation and archive site at:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/doulosmeditations/
Our New Website is: http://www.doulosinternational.org/

Do  you want to get involved in hands-on mission activities either in this country or abroad? If so, please give us the opportunity to talk with you about it. Please call Robert Barkley at 254 479 0373.
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Post  Admin on Thu 09 Apr 2015, 12:28 am

Matthew 1:1—“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
 
Reflection: Why would Matthew begin with a genealogy? Maybe he is pointing to two basic truths about the Messiah: he came because of God’s promise to Abraham, and his coming was symbolized by the great king David.
 
Both the words Messiah and Christ mean “anointed.” In antiquity, the special appointments of prophets, priests, and kings were accompanied by official “anointing.” Jesus delivered the message of redemption (he became our prophet), he offered the sacrifice of himself on a cross (he is our high priest) and in himself the reign of God came to earth (he is our king).
 
Two of Jesus’ forefathers were especially important in Matthew’s thought. Abraham was the man who trusted God and King David was a “man after God’s own heart.” To both of them God made great promises and in Jesus God delivered on his promises.   
 
Prayer Starter: “Our Father, you have been faithful to your promises. We accept with all our hearts the Messiah you have sent and the King you have crowned. We look to Jesus as our prophet, our priest, and our king and we praise you for your gift. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Thu 17 Jul 2014, 8:50 pm

Today's Daily Encounter

Is Your Life Wonder-full or Wonder-empty?  

"Then he [Jesus] said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your
guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not
consist in the abundance of his possessions.'"1

In some way e-motions are "energy in motion." When used
creatively they can motivate us to achieve wonderful
things in life. When repressed they can leave us
characteristically bored with life, feeling empty
within, and settling for cheap counterfeits.

For instance, when the emotion of love is repressed,
more often than not it will express itself in lust and
lead to superficial relationships. When anger is
repressed it can come out as hostility, rage or passive
aggression. When fear is repressed it can cause us to
setting ourselves up to fail, or express itself in
phobias. Instead of facing the real fear within, we
attach it to something outside ourselves--it feels a
whole lot safer to do it this way.

Or take the emotion of wonder. It's the emotion that
puts sparkle into life and makes life wonder-full. When
wonder is repressed, our life is wonder-empty. It then
expresses itself in a "lust" for things; that is,
materialism. Instead of loving people and using things
we end up unhappily loving things and using people to
get more things.

I believe one of the major reasons why we in the
Western World are so materialistic and "worship the god
of materialism" is because so many of us are
emotionally repressed and our lives wonder-empty.

A vital part of a truly wonderful life consists of
being in touch with and aware of our entire range of
God-given emotions; that, in turn, express themselves
in wholesome, loving relationships with our own self,
others, and ultimately with God.

Jesus said it well when he said, "A man's life does not
consist in the abundance of his possessions." And as
Henry Van Dyke said, "What you possess in the world
will be found at the day of your death to belong to
someone else. But what you are will be yours forever."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to get in
touch with and be aware of all my God-given emotions
and use them as You intended, so that my life will be
truly wonder-full and so I will not be caught up in the
emptiness of materialism--and so that my life will be a
clear channel through whom Your love can freely flow to
others. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer.
Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Luke 12:15 (NIV).

<Smile)))><    
  
  NOTE: If you would like to accept God's forgiveness
  for all your sins and His invitation for a full pardon
  Click on: http://www.actsweb.org/invitation.php. Or
  if you would like to re-commit your life to Jesus Christ, 
  please click on http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php to note this.
  
  * * *
  Copyright (c) 2014 by ACTS International. 
  When copying or forwarding include the following: 
  "Daily Encounter by Richard (Dick) Innes (c) 2014
  ACTS International.
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Post  Admin on Wed 16 Jul 2014, 8:20 pm

Dear CV Friend, 

Harry Reid and his zealous pro-abortion friends are desperate. 

They know their majority in the Senate is in danger. 

So guess what? They’ve decided it’s time to dust off the fake 'War on Women' playbook again. 

Senate Democrats know that the bogus 'War on Women' helped raise millions of dollars in 2012 while also bringing abortion supporters to the polls. 

Moments ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee finished a hearing on S.1696, the so-called “Women's Health Protection Act.” The bill was introduced in response to the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. 

This bill declares open war on women and their children. 

What would happen to the numerous pro-woman and pro-child protections passed in the states all across the country if this mega abortion bill became law? 

Informed consent laws? Eliminated. 
Laws that protect pain-capable children after 20 weeks? Gone. 
Clinic regulations? All of them wiped away. 
Conscience protections? Nearly all such protections would be decimated.

Ultrasounds for vulnerable women? Banned. 

My friend summed it up well: “This bill is the Freedom of Choice Act on steroids.” 
The far-ranging scope of this bill and the audacity of the Senate Democrats to push such legislation is terrifying. 

The gloves are off. Their full agenda is out of the bag. This is what they would impose on America if pro-life legislators were not standing in their way. 

Thankfully, there is absolutely no way this bill will pass the House, which is in pro-life hands. But that doesn't mean we can ignore this legislation. Harry Reid will use this bill to raise money and get out votes for radical pro-abortion candidates. 

We can’t let them have the last word. We need to expose their real agenda. 

Can you forward this message to 5 friends right now? 

Let’s make sure Harry Reid’s lies backfire

Brian
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Post  Admin on Thu 10 Jul 2014, 12:22 pm

Doulos International
#2 of 8 Meditations on the Number Forty. 

Scripture: Exodus 24:16-18—The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. 

Reflection: The number forty deals with humbling and testing; and here Moses found his call clarified and God’s will revealed. We hunger (that word again) for knowledge from God—a clear call. God in scripture is the self-revealing God—but never in the lounging decadence of comfort and ease. Knowing God’s purposes always comes from the times of testing, hunger, and struggle. 

Glory is connected with revelation and seeing. It is what we see of the invisible God; the wake of God’s ship moving through time and space. Moses’ call became clear to him; he saw the glory; he heard the call. It did not happen in Pharaoh’s palace, but in the wilderness; in a time of testing; on a mountain top. He was there forty days. 

Prayer Starter: Oh God of Sinai, reveal yourself to us. Humble us and test us in our wilderness and on your mountain. Give clarity to our calling. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Sun 06 Jul 2014, 8:12 pm

Doulos Meditation for June 5
#4 of 5 Meditations on Colossians 1:24. 

Scripture: Colossians 1:24—and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 

Reflection: Paul is not suffering for no reason; or even for a selfish reason. He endures all kinds of hardships for the sake of the body of Christ, the church. Expand your mind when you think of the church and resist the stenosis (narrowing) that has occurred in modern Protestantism. This church simply cannot be identified with a specific denomination, though several claim that they are “the” church and all others are not. This view is the root of massive disease in the body of Christ. 


The church for Paul was the collective sanctified people; wherever they were found; dead or alive; organized into local groups or not. The church universal we might call it—a network of believers that no human can define or draw a line around. For this catholic (universal) fellowship Paul says he is suffering: that it might grow, might be transformed into the image of Christ, might glorify God throughout eternity, might be the instrument through which the gospel was announced and sinners reached for Jesus. 

Prayer Starter: Father, help us understand how your church penetrates the world and works like leavening to bring the gospel of Jesus to every people. Suffering loses it pain when we know we suffer for your purposes and in the exercise of your will. Amen 

1 of 8 Meditations on the Number Forty. 

Scripture: Deuteronomy 8:2-5 Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments. He humbled you by letting you hunger…to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 

Reflection: Understanding the mind of the bible writers includes seeing the significance they placed on numbers. Forty was connected with testing and trial—our passage is key. Do not think of it as punishment, but a number connected with God’s discipline enacted on those God made covenant with and loved—it involved humbling and testing of faith, connected with cleansing and commitment. 

The mind of Deity became Incarnate in a Jewish mind. From his baptism the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where he fasted forty days and was tested by Satan. He hungered and said, “Man does not live by bread alone…” His baptism commitment was linked to his crucifixion by wilderness testing. And what about the new believer? Does he, too, enter the Incarnation path? Does he recapitulate Jesus? Does testing always follow commitment, with elements of humbling, hungering, heart searching involved? Is wilderness more than a symbol? 


Prayer Starter: How profound our thoughts become as you reveal to us the meaning of Incarnation—as you show us the divine mystery of Christ in us. Lead us by your Spirit through our wilderness and teach us we do not live by bread alone. Amen. 

Doulos Meditation for June 6 
#5 of 5 Meditations on Colossians 1:24. 

Scripture: Colossians 1:24—for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 

Reflection: There is a grand vista to enjoy in the words “his body, the church.” The Great Event was the Incarnation—when God became man and gave himself as the sacrifice for sins. That was Event, but what is the process? 

It is the church—clearly seen in Paul’s expression the “body of Christ.” That world wide fellowship of faith through which God works which we call the church is in fact a continuation and extension of the event we call Incarnation. The church is the temple where the Holy Spirit lives; Paul prayed the Ephesians would have Christ living in them; Jesus told the disciples he and the Father would make their home in them. So the real church is not an organization with name, structure, location, buildings, or denominational identity. It is an organism that draws its life from the exalted Jesus who has all power and exerts that power in our world through this collection of humble servants who believe in him and are commissioned by him. What God began in the baby of Bethlehem, he continues in the body of Christ, the church. The concept saturates scripture, salts the earth, reflects the light and portends the wedding of the lamb in heaven itself. 

Prayer Starter: Lord thank you for the Incarnation; both event in Jesus and process in us who believe. Amen.
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Post  Admin on Sat 05 Jul 2014, 8:53 pm

Doulos Meditation for June 4 

#3 of 5 Meditations on Colossians 1:24. 
Scripture: Colossians 1:24—I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions… 

Reflection: Look for the principle in scripture. God does mighty works—but these are then processed in human lives. Life on this earth is far more process than event and not understanding this leads to a distorted view of our faith. 

Love is another example of processing as is suffering. Jn 4:16f comments “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them. Love has been perfected (completed) among us…” Once again, it is not suggesting a flaw in God, but the processing of a God-quality through and in us. Same story with God’s Law as seen in Romans 8:4—“…so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us…” In fact the Christian life is not a matter of self expression, originality, or creativity. It is the matter of submission, obedience, and the God-Nature working in us. 


Prayer Starter: Dear Father, open our eyes that we may see the working of your power in each of our lives. Every day let us surrender to your will and purposes, pray for your guidance, listen to the Holy Spirit, and deny those fleshly instincts that deter us from serving you with our whole heart. Amen. 

4 of 5 Meditations on Colossians 1:24.

Scripture: Colossians 1:24—and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.

 

Reflection: Paul is not suffering for no reason; or even for a selfish reason. He endures all kinds of hardships for the sake of the body of Christ, the church. Expand your mind when you think of the church and resist the stenosis (narrowing) that has occurred in modern Protestantism. This church simply cannot be identified with a specific denomination, though several claim that they are “the” church and all others are not. This view is the root of massive disease in the body of Christ.

 

The church for Paul was the collective sanctified people; wherever they were found; dead or alive; organized into local groups or not. The church universal we might call it—a network of believers that no human can define or draw a line around. For this catholic (universal) fellowship Paul says he is suffering: that it might grow, might be transformed into the image of Christ, might glorify God throughout eternity, might be the instrument through which the gospel was announced and sinners reached for Jesus.

 

Prayer Starter: Father, help us understand how your church penetrates the world and works like leavening to bring the gospel of Jesus to every people. Suffering loses it pain when we know we suffer for your purposes and in the exercise of your will. Amen
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Post  Admin on Fri 04 Jul 2014, 4:01 pm

Re-birth of this Yahoo Group
After laying out for the better part of a year, we have decided to reconstitute this yahoo group to better serve our Doulos people who use it for news and communications from the organization. I hope you like what we have done and feel free to use it frequently.


We will continue to publish articles and news notices here that are of interest to the wider Christian world and consider it a privilege to have you on board. Please feel free to communicate your interests and needs to the group.


All old members are being retained and newbies are invited.

Please let me invite you to interact with us and allow us to help you in any way possible.

Yours truly,
Robert Barkley
President
Doulos International
Visit our interactive YAHOO GROUP at: 
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/doulosinternational/
Visit our non-interactive meditation and archive site at:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/doulosmeditations/
Our New Website is: http://www.doulosinternational.org/
Do  you want to get involved in hands-on mission activities either in this country or abroad? If so, please give us the opportunity to talk with you about it. Please call Robert Barkley at 254 479 0373.

Doulos Meditation for June 1 
Scripture: Psalm 78:16, 17—He made streams come out of the rock, and caused waters to flow down like rivers. Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. 

Reflection: Read Psalm 78 to see how powerfully the Psalmist Asaph characterizes the people of Israel . He makes two points over and over: God has done great and good things out of steadfast love for his people; his people are stubborn sinners and reject God’s goodness time after time. 

We might at first think “So what? Those were ancient people whose lives have little connection with ours.” Bad thought! They form a paradigm for the Christian and a warning for us. Hebrews 3:7ff calls their behavior “unbelief,” i.e. not taking God seriously and trusting his guidance and writes “Take care…that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Rebellion is a major word for sin in the Old Testament. It is still seen—in every school, church, community, and family. Nothing has changed. God is still good and humans are still evil—and we still deny the implications and results. 


Prayer Starter: Lord, I’m truly sorry that in me is such a heart of rebellion and unbelief. Help me, Father, or I have no hope. Open my eyes to your goodness and atonement and humble me that I might receive your gift. Amen. 

Doulos Meditation for June 2 

#1 of 5 Meditations on Colossians 1:24. 
Scripture: Colossians 1:24—I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 

Reflection: Looking closely, Paul doesn’t suggest that the Christian rejoices because of his suffering (as though suffering has some good quality or merit in itself) but in the midst and in spite of his suffering. And he rejoices during this suffering always for an outside reason—i.e. because of “their sake” not merely because he himself is suffering. 

I notice that James does the same. In Jas 1:2 he says “consider it nothing but joy” when you experience trials—not because the trial itself is worthy, but because it results in endurance and ultimately maturity and completeness. Being a Christian does not free one from suffering. Indeed, it may cause persecution, financial impoverishment, and social ostracism. To be a Christian is to feel pain as never before, but it is pain with a purpose. 

Prayer Starter: Father, we do not ask for comfort and ease in our lives, but for your power and presence that our suffering may be meaningful and not hopeless. Through our suffering strengthen us to be obedient to your will, useful to your purposes, and faithful to your calling. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Doulos Meditation for June 3 

#2 of 5 Meditations on Colossians 1:24. 
Scripture: Colossians 1:24—…and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 

Reflection: How can anything be lacking in Christ’s suffering? And if there is anything lacking, what possibility is there that I could supply it? Be careful not to pursue this false and blind alley. Of course in this sense there is nothing lacking in Jesus. 

But Paul is touching on a great biblical principle—that in believers there is process, working out, and completion of God’s purposes. He is the origin, empowerment, and consummation of all things, but believers are his field where the cultivation, planting, and reaping are done. There is always event followed by process in the Christian faith. Jesus’ death was event; his death worked out in each of us (It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…) is the process of the strait gate and narrow way; of taking up our cross; of losing one’s life for Jesus’ sake. So it is with suffering. If the Master suffered, the disciples will reap the after shocks that come from that event. “Don’t be surprised if the world hates you” Jesus said. 

Prayer Starter: Father, we are humbled and rejoice that the great work of atonement you have done in Jesus yet works in us that we made be made like him in our sufferings and in the glory to come. Amen. 

BLOG. TANZANIAORPHANHELP. COM 
Jun 12 

BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania Trails: Seeing Africa Through Their Eyes" on 6/12/2014 9:06:30 AM, written by Michael and Dorris Fortson. 
Tanzania Trails: Seeing Africa Through Their Eyes 
We are at our home in Tanzania at last! This trip, we will be here until September 15. Here is a photo of Dorris and four month old Phillip. (Philip, left, is an abandoned baby, one of the thirty-one babies at Neema House.) This is what we are here for. 

To have two teenage girls see Africa for the first time is way beyond cool! Hayley, our granddaughter, and her best friend Kyndel (Hayley, right, and Kyndel, left) have been at Neema a week now and I think they have fallen in love with Africa and its beautiful people. 

The Neema babies, Debora and Matilda Grace, both abandoned babies, can be found most anytime either tied on their backs or in their laps as the girls feed, change, bounce and burp these beautiful little Neemaities. 


Everywhere you look Africa is a million shades of manjano (green in Swahili). Yesterday we took them to Moshi, a beautiful green flowering town, where they toured a coffee plantation and helped make the world famous Tanzanian coffee from “bush to cup.” (See Hayley pounding coffee, left) An old African Mzee took the girls through the process and energetically sang and pounded, winnowed and roasted his way to the best cup of coffee I ever drank in my life. I will never drink another cup of coffee without thinking of this weathered almost toothless man singing and clapping as we pounded the coffee beans. 




Mt. Kilimanjaro, who is very bashful and as the Africans, say only shows herself to special people, finally peeked her snow covered head from the clouds to greet the girls. Michael and the girls hiked to the Kili waterfall at the base of the mountain and waded through the ice cold glacier river water to stand on a rock and see this misty vision of God’s beauty. 
We sat with them in the damp, musty caves of the ancient Chagga people and listened to the guide tell of how the ancients hid from the warrior Masaai who came raiding to capture tall women to sire their babies. Sadly he told us they killed the women when the child was five so she could not tell them of their Chagga home. 
At the end of the trip we stopped by the Machame hospital where Jack and Mija Coles from Temple, Texas worked for so many years. In the maternity delivery ward we got to see a brand new baby just washed and I was given the honor of naming the baby. It was a touching moment for all of us as I named this beautiful little wonder, Rebekah. 
On their day off last weekend we took the girls to Maji Moto, a hot volcanic pool, where they swam in the blue pool, swung from a rope swing squealing as only teenage girls can, or sat still while the little fishes nibbled at their feet. It is quite a unique place, dropped in the middle of a dry, goat-infested, overgrazed plain, this beautiful oasis suddenly appears. The pool was hidden by giant, spreading fig trees with monkeys flinging themselves from branch to branch in search of their dinner. We have nicknamed Kyndel, the monkey magnet, since she can spot them anywhere. 


After church Sunday we took some of our Neema volunteers out to see the land Neema is buying, and where we will build the new home for the babies. (in the above photo: l - r, Emma, Laura, Kyndel, Hayley, Maurine, Liz, and Dorris) We were sure we could hear the laughter of children echoing across these beautiful hills. God is indeed Good! 
We are so glad to be back in Africa and once again be able to share this land and its people with you on our little blog. Having Hayley and Kyndel here and seeing Africa through their eyes has been a special treat for us. Bless all of you who made this possible for them. And bless all of you who support and pray for our babies at Neema House. 
Grace to all, 
Michael and Dorris Fortson
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Post  Admin on Tue 27 Aug 2013, 5:18 pm

BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania
Trails: Frankie' s Masai Village" on 8/25/2013 12:19:52 PM, written by
Michael and Dorris Fortson.
Tanzania Trails: Frankie' s Masai Village

On Saturday, Kathy, Hattie, Mama Musa, Michael and Frankie loaded up the
Prado with food and supplies and headed out to the Masaai village where
Frankie was born. Frankie is the smallest of the Masaai triplets and at
nineteen months old and barely ten pounds, he is still too fragile to
return home to the village. Since he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy,
we are not sure that he would be able to survive in the harsh conditions
of the village.
But we were excited for him to be able to spend the day with his sisters
and mom and dad.
We are always shocked at how little the villages have changed in the
fifty years since we first arrived in Tanzania. When we go to the
villages we always see young masaai boys herding starving cows which are
likely the families only commodity of value. The land is overgrazed and
the boys must travel long distances to find the grasses for the cattle. 
The houses are still made of mud and the floor is still smoothed with
red ocher dirt mixed with cow manure. The cows, used mainly for bride
prices, are still kept in a thorn boma in the middle of the village,
which of course brings the hordes of flies that continually plague the
eyes and noses of the children. The flies seem to bother the visiting
guests more than they do the children.

One thing that never changes is all children' s love of Candy. 
Kathy and Hattie gave out candy to the children and then the mothers
wanted some too.

Frankie' s mom and dad were very happy to see him and couldn't
stop kissing him,

but his triplet sisters, Lucia and Yacinta screamed every time Mama Musa
brought Frankie close to them. Frankie wasn't all too thrilled to
see his sisters either.

Frankie' s old grandmother had come to Neema House to learn how to
boil bottles and water and make the formula bottles for Meshack.

Meshack is Frankie' s half brother from a second wife who died during
his birth. Grandmother is a typical Masaai woman with lots of beads,
shaved head and deep ear lobe cuts hung with heavy beads and shiny
aluminum. The life of Masaai women is very hard, but they seem a happy,
loving group.
Frankie was a tired little boy after the trip. However, he is never too
tired to pose for the camera and loves to make us all happy by
performing.

He has just started walking and is quite proud of himself. He is the
most determined baby we have ever seen; he falls down, gets up, falls
down, gets up again, while we all watch, clapping and yelling
"Semama Franki! (Stand Up!).

Frankie is learning important lessons about life: that it is okay to
fall down just so you always get up again, and that when you get up
again it makes other people happy. It's a sermon we could all use
from time to time. Thanks Frankie Boy!

Grace,
Dorris Fortson
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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 2:16 pm

Message from Catholic Vote
Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:15 am (PDT) . Posted by: "rxbarkley" 
Dear Friend of CV,

54A921669FF2ADBB899 5BEA87:r> We're so close.

The House has passed landmark legislation that bans abortions after 20
weeks.

Now the Senate must respond.

With Congress out for recess during August, most Senators are in their
home states taking the pulse of voters.

Can you make a quick phone call to your Senator?

Ask them if they stand with the majority of Americans in supporting the
Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

...and then email us back and tell us what they told you.

If you live in the following states, your call is even more critical, as
these vulnerable Senators are up for re-election in pro-life states next
year.

We can't let them dodge this bill. They must take a stand for children
who feel pain. No excuses allowed. You and I need to let them know that
Catholics are watching.

Alaska – Mark Begich (907) 271-5915
Arkansas – Mark Pryor (501) 324-6336
Louisiana – Mary Landrieu (504) 589-2427
North Carolina – Kay Hagan (704) 334-2448

If you do not live in any of these states, you can look up your two
Senators here
54A921669FF2ADBB899 5BEA87:r> . Or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at
(202) 224-3121.

Even if the Senators are not in Washington, their staff is. Let's
make their phones ring off the hook!

A March poll conducted by The Polling Company showed that 64% of
Americans would support a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, when science
and medicine can prove the unborn child experiences pain.

We have never been this close to protecting millions of children.

Ask you Senator: do you support ending child pain for millions of
children?

Let's pass this bill.

P.S. Read expert testimony about fetal pain from doctors who strongly
support this legislation here:
http://www.catholicvote.org/?p=50133
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Post  Admin on Sat 17 Aug 2013, 9:44 pm

August 16, 2013
The End of Our Exploring
Asking Questions, Seeking Answers
By Eric Metaxas
We've all heard there are no bad questions… well, that isn't
exactly true. In fact, the very first question was bad.
In his classic work, Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton talks about an English
yachtsman who, thinking he had discovered an island in the South Seas,
had actually landed back in England. Chesterton said that this was his
own story. All of Chesterton&# 39;s supposedly avant-garde questions
about philosophy and the meaning of life had led him, slowly, inexorably
along the well-worn path back to the faith of the apostles.

In a newer but still marvelous book, "The End of Our Exploring,"
Matthew Lee Anderson traces the same kind of journey.

In the book, Anderson, a terrific young writer and lead blogger at
mereorthodoxy. com, dissects the fascination of our day with asking
questions—but not necessarily seeking answers.

Now Anderson is no anti-intellectual, who thinks questions are
incompatible with Christian faith. This isn't a "God says it, I
believe it, and that settles it" approach to Christianity. In fact,
he told me on BreakPoint this Week this is the most personal bit of
writing he's ever done. He is a questioner, and that includes of
God. This can lead to knowledge, and to faith. "There&# 39;s a
peculiar quality," he writes, "that the questioning person
cultivates, an openness to the world … and a willingness to …
learn something."

But we often act today as if our questions are autonomous. They are good
questions on the mere condition that we have them. This is what Anderson
is trying to correct when he rephrases Socrates: "The unexamined
question," says Anderson, "is not worth asking."

In other words, contrary to what our teachers may have told us, could
there be at least some bad questions? Anderson says, "Yes." In
fact, the very first question—the serpent' s question of Eve—
was a bad one: "Has God actually said that you shall eat of no tree
in the Garden?"

The serpent not only used an impersonal name for God instead of the
covenant name Adam and Eve knew Him by, he insinuates that God is
keeping something good from them; and he misquotes His command.

And this is another warning. Not only are there bad questions, we might
be bad questioners. We not only need to question our questions; we need
to sometimes question ourselves. Our questions are not pristine and
unassailable. They're tainted by our sin and selfishness—and
we're especially vulnerable in times of doubt and suffering.

"These days," Anderson concludes, "I am more doubtful of
seeing my own goodness in the land of the living than I am of seeing
God's. He has already proven Himself in the death and resurrection
of Jesus. It is I who am in question."

Yes, it is right and good to ask questions—if we don't know the
answer and are committed to doing the right thing when we get it. But
sometimes, Anderson says, we ask in order to evade our responsibilities.
Remember what the expert in the law asked the Lord when told he had to
love God and his neighbor with everything he had—"Who is my
neighbor?" That's not a good question!
Anderson equates questioning with
exploring—hence the title, "The End of Our Exploring."
He's not calling for an end to questioning; he wants us to keep in
mind that our questioning needs to have an end—in other words, a
goal, a telos.

His book is a terrific reminder that questions aren't ends in and of
themselves. Rather, the right questions search for truth. Our yacht
needs to end up at the right destination—even if it's one we
don't expect.

It may be fashionable to ask questions for the sake of questioning. But
if we really want to help our neighbors (and especially younger
Christians) with their questions, we need to help them become seekers of
truth, not mockers of it.

Matt's new book, "The End of Our Exploring," will help you
do just that. Come to the BreakPoint online bookstore, and we'll
tell you how to get one. And please be sure to tune in to my interview
with Matt Anderson on "BreakPoint This Week." And maybe listen
with a questioner. Come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary.
http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/23082?spMailingID=6766397&spUserID=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&spJobID=84009102&spReportId=ODQwMDkxMDIS1#landingzone
 Next StepsSometimes a question is merely a
ruse to sow confusion and doubt. To help you understand the difference
between good and bad questions, get Matt Anderson' s book, "The
End of Our Exploring
And listen to BreakPoint This Week as John Stonestreet interviews Matt
Anderson on how good, searching questions can help us grow in our faith
and love of God.
Send this commentary to your friends as well as the link to BreakPoint
This Week. Then invite them to sit down and ask some good questions.
The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of
Faith Matthew Lee Anderson | Moody Publishers | July 2013
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Post  Admin on Sat 17 Aug 2013, 9:34 pm

BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania
Trails: A Busy Summer" on 8/15/2013 11:57:38 AM, written by Michael and
Dorris Fortson.
Tanzania Trails: A Busy Summer

We've been back at Neema Baby Home in Tanzania, East Africa, since
May 27, and it has been a summer of changes. In July we said goodbye to
Claire (see the blog on that story). She took Innocent, the baby who
had been found dumped in a pit latrine, to live with her as her fourth
foster child. She does have her hands full with those four beautiful
children and we wish the very best for her.

The father of Davis and Silvamus (see below) remarried and took those
two rambunctious, into-everything, twin boys, back home to their village
to live with him and his new wife. Their mother had died when they were
born and they had been living at Neema since the doors were opened last
year. It is never our intention to institutionalize these babies.

If it is possible, we want them back in their homes, so this was a
happy, sad day when those two little guys took their teddy bears (see
above) and walked out of Neema.

Four pound baby Gloria has come to stay at Neema for a short while with
her mother, Mary. The hospital called and asked if we could keep this
young mom and her tiny baby girl. The baby was too fragile to go back
to her village and the mom's boyfriend had threatened her if she
kept the baby, so mom and baby have been living here with us and have
fit right into life at Neema. We are not sure what arrangements we
will need to make in the future for them but for now they are safe here
with us.

Social Welfare called last week and asked if we could take a baby boy
named Gian (see right.) He is five months old, and his mother is very
young and in school in Mwanza. She will not be able to take care of the
baby for at least two years, until she finishes school. He cried for a
couple of days but now, when we can get him to smile, we see that he has
two big dimples on his cheeks. He is such a precious little boy and
needs a sponsor. If you can help, please look at our web site on the
"How to help" page at www.tanzaniaorphanh elp.com. 
Any amount helps, even $30 per
month, but it cost us $300 a month to keep a baby at Neema House.

Bryony (right) is also a new baby for us this summer. She had been left
abandoned, as a newborn, in a latrine but is now a beautiful big eyed
two and half month old little sweetheart who is loved and cuddled by
everyone at Neema.

We received a call from Mt. Meru hospital yesterday, asking that we pick
up a baby whose mom had died after a c-section at the hospital.
So today four pound Ebenezer came to live at Neema. (See Ebenezer with
Hattie Sherrill Wasserman, left.) It is very sad when we receive these
calls and I always cry for the new little ones who lose their moms at
such a critical time and have no one to care for them. It is also very
heart rending to witness thedads who have just lost their wives now have
to sign over their newborn baby to someone they do not know. (See right)
These babies are surely the poorest of the poor of whom Jesus said,
"If you will take care of them it will be just like you are taking
care of me."

You ask why we do this? Why we sit up at night holding a sick baby, why
we live in a house where there are crying babies every hour of the day,
why we struggle to pay the formula bill every month and why we work with
underpaid, overworked nannies and why we continue to race babies to the
hospital when our hearts are in our throats for fear that we will lose
one, and why we continue to face the piles of dirty diapers and milk
bottles every day, and we say, as two seventy year olds, in whose hearts
God has placed this work, we simply can't not do it! We were hooked
with our very first baby.

Keep us in your prayers!

Grace to you,

Michael and Dorris Fortson
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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Aug 2013, 7:11 pm

BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania
Trails: The Toothbrush Caper" on 8/6/2013 5:05:47 AM, written by Michael
and Dorris Fortson.
Tanzania Trails: The Toothbrush Caper

I've been walking out of our room in the mornings and standing in
the toddler' s room while I brush my teeth trying to get them to see
that brushing teeth and soap in the mouth is not a scary thing. I hum a
little song while brushing and let them see all the bubbles in my mouth.
They are quite enthralled by the scene and point and giggle behind their
hands and jabber to each other.
So one day last week I took the four oldest toddlers into the bathroom
for a tooth brushing lesson. It was quite funny.

First they wanted to brush each other's teeth not their own. Trying
to show them how to gargle was another matter. They could not keep from
swallowing the water and soap which then left them nothing to spit. But
spitting proved to be such great fun and they were trying their best to
conjure up as much spit at they could.

Since they are too little to stand at the sink I had all four of them
trying to spit in the toilet. You know where this is going now
don't you! Of course before I could stop them they were dipping
their tooth brushes into the toilet. And that was the end of my
toothbrushing lesson! And yes we sterilized the brushes. Everything
can be a great fun with the toddlers even a toothbrush caper.

Grace,

Dorris Fortson

BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania
Trails: They Come Bearing Gifts" on 8/6/2013 6:09:21 AM, written by
Michael and Dorris Fortson.
Tanzania Trails: They Come Bearing Gifts

One of the great things about our volunteers, is that they all bring
gifts when they come! Sometimes we ask them to bring specific things,
but other times they just bring things they think will help. Either way
we are doubly, blessed, both with their hands on help, plus the things
they bring!

Kevin Huddleston and his daughter, Hannah Key, brought chair inserts for
a feeding table, wipies, disposable diapers, children' s books, and many
other goodies! Kevin is an elder at our home church in Temple, Texas.

Kathy (Sherrill) Strong, and Hattie (Sherrill) Wasserman, sisters from
Nacogdoches, where we lived and ministered for many years, brought pots
and pans, knive, tools, electrical tape, and wire nuts, among other
things. All sorely needed here at Neema House. Our cooks are elated at
the new pots and pans, knives, and other utensils.

We know that many people back home contributed to the gifts that have
come our way, and we are totally thankful! Your gifts have made life in
Tanzania a lot easier! And the Neema House Babies say "Asante Sana!" 
Thanks so much!

Grace,

Michael Fortson
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Post  Admin on Sat 13 Jul 2013, 2:39 pm

BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania
Trails: Claire Leaves Neema House" on 7/11/2013 11:06:08 PM, written by
Michael and Dorris Fortson.
Tanzania Trails: Claire Leaves Neema House
We have a new development at Neema House in Arusha ,Tanzania. Through
meetings with Claire and with much prayer, we have mutually agreed to
dissolve our partnership. This decision will allow Claire to start her
own NGO, which she has always wanted to do. We will continue to assist
her for a period of time to allow her to get started.

When we took our tour of East African orphanages in 2011, to see what we
could do to help with the orphan problem, we met Claire, who was then
the interim director at another orphanage. Claire has always had a
heart for children and it was obvious to us then that she would be a
great asset to us in beginning Neema House. During our first year,
Claire has been the on-site director, while we were the fund raisers. 
She has been invaluable at getting Neema going over this past year. 
Neema House would not be where it is today, a thriving home for 27
incredible babies (one was adopted last week!!), 32 full time employees,
and a host of volunteers, if not for Claire. But now she will be going
on to new horizons and we wish her well.

We hope you will continue to follow Neema House Arusha at our website:
www.tanzaniaorphanh elp.com and on
Facebook atwww.facebook. com/neemahousear ushababyhome 

If you have been supporting Neema House or sponsoring a baby through
Claire we hope you will continue to do that through the website above.

Grace,

Michael and Dorris Fortson

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ema-house.aspx
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Post  Admin on Sat 13 Jul 2013, 2:33 pm

1 Neema House Report Posted by: "rxbarkley" rxbarkley
BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania
Trails: The Bag Blog" on 7/10/2013 3:13:56 AM, written by Michael and
Dorris Fortson.
Tanzania Trails: The Bag Blog


Located three hundred miles south of the equator, Arusha has great
weather all year long, but if there is a winter here it is in July and
August. It can get quite cold (it got down to 57 recently) overnight
here and our babies need to be warm and cozy when they go to bed. 
Susan, our medical volunteer, told a friend of her's in England how cool
it is here now so, Anne got in touch with her friends Cherry and Nina
and between them they collected 21 baby and toddler sleeping bags. 
Nina's friends donated the sleeping bags their babies had outgrown and
sent them to us. With our little wigglely Neema babies, it is a comfort
to know the babies won't be cold at night in their beds.


Here are some photos of some of the babies modeling their sleeping bags.
We'd all like to send a huge thank you from the babies and us to Anne
Harries, Cherry Caddy, Nina Dunk and all Nina's friends in Surrey,
England, who sent us these warm and cozy sleeping bags.


If you want to send clothes and items to the Neema Babies please wash
them and mark them "used clothes, not for sale." If you send new items
we have to pay import tax which can be higher than buying the clothes
here! Right now we could use one year size boys and girls long leg
pants and tops to match. Also, we can always use 8 oz baby bottles. 
Send the items to:
Neema Baby Orphanage
P.O. Box 13520
Arusha, Tanzania, East Africa


Grace,
Michael and Dorris Fortson


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Post  Admin on Sat 13 Jul 2013, 2:31 pm

Message from Catholic Vote
Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:34 am (PDT) . Posted by: "rxbarkley" 

Dear Friend of CV,

In Texas, they never back down from a fight.

Even when the opponent is Planned Parenthood.

And thanks to courageous lawmakers, a ban on abortions after 20 weeks
passed the Texas State House today, 96-49.

A vote in the State Senate is expected next week. And Governor Rick
Perry has pledged to sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

If you live in Texas, call your State Senator now! Look up your
Senator' s number here.
8EEAEFC1E9DFF19F473 0212C1:r>

Gov. Perry made the vote possible by calling the Texas Legislature back
to the state capital for a second special session – specifically to
give this bill another chance to become law.

You likely heard about the antics from the first special session. They
made national news when pro-abortion Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered the
bill by speaking for over 11 hours.

But just as the State Senate was about to vote on the bill before the
midnight deadline, a mob of pro-abortion activists flooded inside the
Legislative chambers with shouts and screams. The unruly mob prevented
the Senate from being in order, which meant that the bill could not be
approved by the midnight deadline.

The "mainstream&qu ot; media went into to full worship mode, trying to
turn Wendy Davis into a hero.
But pro-life legislators in Texas, with the help of pro-life activists
in Texas and across the country, did not back down. Despite death
threats and constant harassment, they re-grouped and fought again for
this bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

We congratulate the persistence of Governor Perry and the legislators
who fought so hard despite riotous extremists that sought to disrupt the
will of the people.

The pro-life movement is everywhere.

And everything we do gets us closer to our end goal. Every conversation,
every phone call, every vote and every prayer matters, no matter where
we fight.

To God goes the glory!
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Post  Admin on Fri 28 Jun 2013, 10:48 pm

June 27, 2013
The Supremes and Marriage The Battle Goes On
Eric Metaxas 
Okay, you've seen the news, you've listened to the talking
heads: But what exactly did the Supreme Court's rulings mean for
marriage? Stay tuned to BreakPoint.
Yesterday, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court,
as expected, overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

At the same time the Court declined to rule on California&# 39;s
Proposition 8, citing what lawyers call a "lack of standing."

Here's the bottom line: Same-sex marriage is not the law of the land.
The Supreme Court did not issue a Roe v. Wade type of decision for gay
marriage. Yes, DOMA is gone. But same-sex marriage in California is
still up in the air, and everywhere else the battle goes on.

The DOMA decision, U.S. v. Windsor, involved the estate of a woman who
left everything to her same-sex spouse, a marriage recognized by the
state of New York. The surviving spouse was barred from claiming the
federal estate tax exemption by Section 3 of DOMA, which defines
marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the District and Appeals
Court's rulings that DOMA was unconstitutional.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the
"history of DOMA's enactment and its own text demonstrate that
interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity
conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power,"
was "the essence" of DOMA.

Its "avowed purpose," he said, was to "impose" a
"disadvantage, " "separate status" and "stigma"
on those who enter into "lawful" marriages recognized by the
states they live in.

For long-time BreakPoint listeners, Kennedy' s reasoning may bring to
mind his opinions in Romer v. Evans. There, he opined that
Colorado' s exclusion of sexual orientation from civil rights
protection was the product of "animus. " To which I recall Chuck
Colson retorting, in essence, "hogwash. " I would use a stronger
word--cover your ears--balderdash. There, I've said it.

At any rate, Kennedy cited his opinion in Romer in singling out what he
deemed DOMA's "discriminatio n of an unusual character."
Thus, for Kennedy, Section 3 of DOMA serves no "legitimate
purpose" that compensates for the way it "disparages&qu ot; the
plaintiff' s "personhood and dignity," and is, according to
him, unconstitutional.

Now this is important: Section 2 of DOMA was not addressed in this
decision. Section 2 states that "No State, territory, or possession
of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give
effect" to same-sex marriages performed outside of their
jurisdiction. That means that states may still refuse to recognize
same-sex marriages from other states.

However, as of today, "more than 1,100 federal benefits, rights and
burdens linked to marriage status" become equally applicable to
same-sex married couples.
That much is clear. What is far from clear
is the fate of Proposition 8. The Supreme Court, in Hollingsworth v.
Perry, held that the people defending Proposition 8 lacked
"standing" ; to appeal the District Court ruling. Justice Roberts
wrote that, unlike the plaintiffs or the state of California, they
weren't seeking "a remedy for a personal and tangible harm."

Thus, in essence, the District Court's pro-gay marriage ruling
stands. But it's quite possible that it only applies to the original
parties in the case. So, when it comes to Proposition 8, there is a lot
of litigation and a lot of politicking yet to come.

As I said, the Supreme Court's rulings mean the battle for marriage
goes on. And what that means for the Church will be the subject of
tomorrow' s BreakPoint broadcast with John Stonestreet.

Please come to BreakPoint.org
http://www.breakpoint.org/bp-home?spMailingID=6437230&spUserID=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&spJobID=76818895&spReportId=NzY4MTg4OTUS1
 for all kinds of great resources and articles on yesterday' s decisions.
 NEXT STEPS Gather more information on today's Daily BreakPoint by visiting
www.breakpoint.org
http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/22638?spMailingID=6437230&spUserID=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&spJobID=76818895&spReportId=NzY4MTg4OTUS1#lan
dingzone
Next StepsThe Supreme Court's decisions
are disappointing, but, as Eric says, there is a way forward. In fact
this might be the best time to make a strong case on the state level for
God'sdefinition of marriage, especially in your church. Here are
some things you can do:
- Take Heart. Explain to others that the marriage debate is alive and
well, especially at the state level. - Talk to your pastor, and link him
to pastoral resources we've provided below. He'll probably be saying
something about the decisions this Sunday. - Glance over all the links;
see what Christian leaders are saying so that you can be ready toanswer
your friends and neighbors
when they question you about these issues. -
And finally, remember that as Christians we know that the victory is
already ours in Christ, and while the everyday battles may not go our
way, the war has already been won.

Tune in Friday morning to another BreakPoint Commentary by John
Stonestreet on the Supreme Court decisions.Related Topics  At the Colson Center: Issues - The Supreme Court Rules on Marriage Cases
http://cqrcengage.com/justicefellowship/app/write-a-letter?0&engagementId=7593
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Post  Admin on Tue 25 Jun 2013, 7:36 pm

Neema House Report 06/23/13
Posted by: "rxbarkley" 
BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania
Trails: Neema's First Adoption" on 6/23/2013 12:28:24 PM, written by
Michael and Dorris Fortson.
Tanzania Trails: Neema's First Adoption

On May 5th 2013, Carolina Rose came to live at Neema House. She was
about two to three weeks old and was abandoned on the road. It is very
sad to think of something like that happening, not only for the baby but
for the poor mother who felt she had no other choice. If I didn't
think we might be flooded with babies whose mothers just got tired of
them for the day and would come back the next day to get them, I would
put a sign out in every village saying "Please bring us your
unwanted babies!"
We are thankful this little one was put where she could be easily found.

One of the first abandoned babies we saw in Africa had been left in the
forest around Geita, Tanzania and was barely alive when someone finally
found her. They named her Neema, which as you know by now means Grace. 
We thank God for every precious life that is found.

But now the rest of the story of Carolina Rose and this one has a happy
ending! Carolina Rose was adopted out to her new Tanzanian family this
week, in Neema House's very first adoption!!! You have to live in
Tanzania for three years before you can adopt and since adoption has not
been a part of the Tanzanian culture it has been difficult to get this
part of our mission going. Katie and Caroline from Abilene, Texas, got
to help with the interview for our first Neema adoption.

Carolina' s new family, MaMa Joyce, her husband and their three older
children could nott wait to get their new baby home. We are so excited
for them. Joyce has been coming almost every day to see the baby and
then spent last night with us at Neema to see how the night would go
with the baby. Everyone did fine, at least she didn't back out this
morning!
Before she left with the baby we were able to visit with Mama Carolina
(which is what the new mother will be called now).

We were interested in why she wanted to adopt a child and
how she came to this decision, in hopes that it might help us talk with
other Tanzanian couples about adoption. She told us she was orphaned as
the oldest child in a big family and had to take care of her little
brothers and sisters. It had been a hard life for her but now she has a
successful business in Arusha and wanted to help a child who otherwise
might have to grow up like she did. We also asked her about her hopes
and dreams for little Carolina Rose. She said Carolina will be special
and she will be able to be anything she wants, maybe even President! We
saw the beautiful heart of this new mother as tears flowed down her face
while she talked about her life and her future with Carolina.
We all got a little teary as we handed Carolina over to her new mother
and watched her walk out the big front door of Neema House, not from
sadness but sheer joy that this was finally happening.
It has never been our goal to institutionalize these babies. We have
hoped and prayed to have them in their forever families before they turn
three. We still have these little cuties that need a home.

Zawadi

Elliot

Frida

Bryony

Grace,

Michael and Dorris
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Post  Admin on Thu 20 Jun 2013, 4:11 pm

Tanzania Trails: The Day Didn't Go As Planned
didnt-go-as- planned.aspx> r
Michael just gave me the title for today's blog. This day certainly
did not go as planned! I had decided today was the day I would sort
clothes for the toddlers. Each baby has a drawer under their bed but
when we look for something for one of the babies to put on we cannot
find what we want and have to go scavenging in the other drawers. So
today was the day I would sort clothes. Two of the big wooden, handmade
drawers would not even open. Michael jimmied the drawers around and
got them open and soon I had collected a huge mountain of clothes in the
middle of the floor.

But before I could get started the nannies came in concerned that
Riziki, one of the small babies, was lethargic, vomiting and had
diarrhea. Riziki is one of our orphan babies whose mother died giving
birth in January and there was no father around. The grandmother comes
to visit but she is too old to care for Riziki, so the baby has been at
Neema since she was twelve hours old.
We were going to Arusha town later anyway to pick up the keys to the
hotel room for Lori and Lita who are coming into the airport at around
3:30 a.m. in the morning so we decided to leave early. We would take
Shermain, the volunteer from Dubai who had been holding Riziki all
morning, to the hospital with us. When they were finished seeing the
doctor, Godlove was to pick them up and bring them home to Neema. 
Sounded like a good plan.
We had barely made it out of the hospital parking lot dropping off
Shermain and the baby when the girls at Neema called and said
Immigration was at Neema House. Always a scary thing, for some reason
immigration does not like volunteers.
We had picked up Hannah, from New Zealand, at the airport late last
night and her Class C visa was to be here today so she could work with
the babies. The visa did not come in, but immigration chose this day to
come check visas.
If you don't have the proper visa you cannot pick up a hammer, a
nail or even a baby and if you do, immigration can throw you in jail. 
Hannah had walked to Neema House from the volunteer house and we
discussed that she would not work until her visa came in and she could
have tea and see the house only. Even though she was not working when
immigration people came they wanted to take her downtown to interrogate
her. Michael told them she was not working but the officer was adamant
that she could not even be there, which is ridiculous since we have drop
in visitors all the time. We ended up having to buy her a volunteer
visa for $200 even though her Class C visa has been issued and was on
the way from Dar.
Then we got a call from Shermain at the hospital and Rizki had been
admitted with severe dehydration, so we headed back to the hospital
where I would stay with the baby until Michael could bring a nanny back
to spend the night with her. I held her hand while she screamed as the
nurse moved the needle around in one little hand, then the other, and
then one foot then the other, trying to find a tiny vein to put the IV
drip into. They finally put it in her head.
Around four p.m. we began to hear explosions, sounding like gunshots or
bombs going off. People were scurrying around in the hospital trying to
see what was happening. Sometimes the explosions sounded like they were
off in the distance and then other times like they were right in the
parking lot of the hospital. It turns out that there were riots all
over town because of a recent election. People had been told not to
meet, but groups were meeting anyway and so the police were using tear
gas to break up the meetings.
I waited a long while in the hospital room for Michael to come pick me
up (I didn't have a phone since being there was not what I had
planned) and finally Dr. Matthews came into the room and said it looked
like none of us would be going home tonight nor would anyone be able to
get in or out of the hospital. The streets were blocked with rioters
and police throwing tear gas into the crowds and explosions going off
every few minutes. It appeared we were all stuck for the night.
Not exactly what we had planned for the day.
I was down to one pamper left for the baby who had diarrhea and had
mentioned that fact to Dr. Matthews when he came to tell us the news of
the riots. In just a short while this busy pediatrician returned with
a box of pampers, which he had bought at the gift shop, for Riziki. 
Very nice man! So I settled down with my kindle for what I thought was
a long night in the hospital.
Not exactly what I had planned but with my kindle this plan I could
handle.
But soon Efracia, one of the Neema nannies, came walking into the room. 
Godlove, our Neema driver, had been able to make it through the riots
and was waiting for me out in the parking lot. Efracia and I changed
places and I walked down to find Godlove. But all the doors were
blocked by armed guards and no one was being let in or out of the
hospital.
Earlier I had met a friendly African man who worked in the hospital when
trying to find a coke and he said, "follow me," so we went around to the
emergency entrance where we were able to get out the door and into the
courtyard. There were probably two or three hundred people standing
around outside in the hospital compound. They seemed to be looking for
a way to get out and get home while another large group of people were
outside the compound gates looking for a way to get in where they might
be safe. I heard a shout from outside the gate as I walked around
looking for Godlove in the crowd, "Poli Sana Mzungu" (Very
sorry white person.) They know tourists are their bread and butter, so
were very apologetic about the explosions.
Finally I spotted Godlove, our very brave driver. We talked about
whether we should try to leave and he listened to the news on his phone
to see if we could get the latest information. While waiting we saw a
stretcher being wheeled in with a young woman, unconscious, on the
gurney. She looked like she had been trampled or run over in a
stampede. Then three men came running with an injured young man slung
across their shoulders. He was being jostled around like a rag doll as
they ran but was not responding. He also looked like he had been
trampled. Two more injured people came in while we waited outside the
emergency exit; both people were bloodied but were walking.
Finally Godlove asked two soldiers if they thought we could get home to
our area of town. The soldier told him to go the back ways and we would
be able to make it home. We got to the car, sat down inside and looked
at each other. I said, "We' ll be okay, God will be with
us," and Godlove repeated, "God will be with us." I have to
tell you all fear left then and even though the streets were jammed with
people and honking cars and there was a tinge of tear gas in the air and
the explosions were still going off, we were safe and unafraid in the
car, and we pulled into the Neema parking lot a short time later to the
surprise of everyone, who thought we were all spending the night at the
hospital. Godlove turned off the engine and said, "Thank You
God" to which I said, "Amen!"
Just call me naïve but I prefer to think it was that
"unexplainable peace" that comes to God's children when they
are held safe in the arms of Jesus.
(There are no pictures to go with this part of the blog as men with guns
don't generally like their pictures taken.)
Please continue to pray for this beautiful scarred land and its beloved
people.

Grace,
Dorris Fortson
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Post  Admin on Mon 17 Jun 2013, 4:26 pm

Neema House Report 06/15/13
Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:14 am (PDT) . Posted by: "rxbarkley" rxbarkley
BLOG.TANZANIAORPHAN HELP.COM published a new post entitled "Tanzania
Trails: The Poopy Day" on 6/15/2013 5:42:19 AM, written by Michael and
Dorris Fortson.
Tanzania Trails: The Poopy Day

We are up early this morning listening to the sounds of Neema House. 
The babies are stirring, wanting their bottles and the nannies are
cooking morning oatmeal for the toddlers. We are trying to decide which
baby to go pick up and bring into our room to play with before the
morning rush. It is one of my favorite times of the day. You know
that we have finally decided which of the 28 babies is the cutest; it
happens to be the one we are holding at the moment!

With their huge dark eyes, African babies are the cutest babies in the
world, oops I hope my grandchildren are not reading this!

Yesterday was quite a day. We took the toddlers for a long walk, maybe
a little too long; by the end of it, all thirteen of the babies we had
taken with us wanted to be held but there were only five grownups. Some
of the strollers had three babies tucked into the space for one baby. 
But it was fun and is my second favorite time of the day.

Late yesterday afternoon I was in the room where the middle size babies
play during the day. Anna was lying on her tummy on a play mat and the
cover had gotten moved off the plastic mat. Anna decided it was a good
time to vomit and before anyone saw it, she was making snow angels in
the vomit on the plastic mat. Frida and Deboradecided to join in the
fun and had it smeared all over their faces, clothes and hands. I
gasped, grabbed Anna and raced her into the bathroom, ran warm water in
the round wash tub we use to bath the babies and sat her down for a good
scrub, at which point she decided it was a good time to poop in the warm
bath water!! I took the little dripping wet Anna out, dumped the water
and poured more warm water in, got her bathed, then did the same for the
other two little culprits. This was not my favorite time of the day!

While we are on the topic of pooping, this morning I was greeted by this
happy scene: Toddlers potty training! Never a dull moment at Neema
Baby House in Africa.

Grace,
Dorris Fortson

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