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June 2009

Proverbs 31:1

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

“The sayings of King Lemuel - an oracle his mother taught him. . . ” - 31:1.

When this man was king, he went back and put into writing the things he had learned from his childhood. As a parent, are you teaching your child God's wisdom? As an adult, are you drawing on the wisdom of your family's past?  Perhaps it is how to be a parent even though you never had one. Hopefully, it is building on the legacy that you received from your family.  Either way, you must do your best to learn from, build on and then pass on your past. Who knows, you may be developing a future king in the process.

John Wesley Quote

I am always challenged by this quote from John Wesley's's diary, dated Tuesday, 28 June, 1774:

This being my birthday, the first day of my seventy-second year, I was considering.  How is this, that i find just the same strength as I did thirty years ago?  That my sight is considerably better now, and my nerves firmer than they were then?  That I have none of the infirmities of old age, and have lost several I had in my youth? The grand cause is, the good pleasure of God, who doth whatsoever pleaseth him. The chief means are, 1. my constantly rising at four, for about fifty years: 2. my generally preaching at five in the morning, one of the most healthy exercises in the world: 3. my never traveling less, by sea or land, than four thousand five hundred miles a year.

During his ministry John Wesley rode over 250,000 miles on horseback, a distance equal to ten circuits of the globe along the equator. He preached more than 40,000 sermons!  If Wesley can do what he did, can you do a little more than you are currently doing for the cause of Christ?


Proverbs 30:5

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

“Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in Him” - 30:5.

What are you doing to grow in your understanding of the Word? How are you applying the Word in your work, family, life or ministry? Are you fighting your own battles, or allowing the Lord to fight them for you? You may also want to look at John 10:1-13.


Proverbs 29:20

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

 “Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for him” - 29:20.

How often have you rushed to judgment, upset over something that may happen but seldom does? You fuss and fume, only to have expended a lot of emotional energy over nothing. Usually you say things you should not say and certainly think things you should not think. You must confront this pessimistic tendency or you will find every situation hopeless, leaving you a victim of your surging emotions and anger.


Proverbs 28:26

Your daily dose of Proverbs:

“He who trusts in himself is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe” - 28:26.

This implies that you need other people speaking into your life if you are to walk in wisdom. Who are your coaches and mentors? Who challenges and broadens your perspective on life and purpose? Who is on your personal "board of directors"?  I have written about the importance of having a personal board on my website in the past, so you may want to review what I said there as you consider this important issue.


Proverbs 27:2

Daily dose of Proverbs:

“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
someone else, and not your own lips” - 27:2.

It has been said that God can do great things through people who don't mind if others get the credit. Are you willing to see your ideas and work used for the good of others without them knowing you were the source of their blessing? At the same time, the verse says to let or allow someone else to praise you.  How good are you at receiving a compliment?


Proverbs 26:4-5

Proverb for today:

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you will be like him yourself. 
Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes” - 26:4-5.

To answer or not to answer?  Some people are ready to hear and others aren't.  You must rely on God's guidance to know what to say and when to say it (see John 12:48-50).


Sophia Fund Thank You

Below is a copy of a thank you I finally had time to send out today to anyone who has supported The Sophia Fund, used to feed AIDS widows and orphans in Africa.  If you sent money via check or anonymously, I wanted to make sure you received a thank you.  If you haven't given yet, please consider doing so.

Thank you!

************************************************

Dear Friend,

I wanted to write for some time now to thank you for your support of my appeal for help to feed AIDS orphans and widows in Africa through The Sophia Fund.  To date, we have raised about $6,000, which far exceeds what I expected!  What's more, money continues to arrive every week and one major restaurantAIDS Orphans Upako 2 in Pittsburgh, Bistro-to-Go, has a container out to receive contributions.  God is so good, and my contacts in Zimbabwe and Kenya are abiding by my wishes and spending every penny on food and nothing on overhead.  I think that is a wonderful thing.  Mother Stanko would have been pleased.

I am not sure if you are aware of scope of the HIV/AIDS problem in Africa. About 22 million people are infected in sub-Saharan African with HIV/AIDS.  In addition, there are 12 million African AIDS orphans, whose parents and/or grandparents are dead leaving the children with no means of survival but begging and scavenging.  They often become easy prey for human predators who exploit their helpless and hopeless condition.

I have chosen to focus on Kenya and Zimbabwe and here are the statistics on those nations alone as of 2008:

Country                                                   Kenya                             Zimbabwe

People living with HIV/AIDS                1.5 to 2 million                       1.3 million

Adult (15-49) rate %                               7.1-8.5%                              15.3%

Women with HIV/AIDS                     800,000 to 1,100,000               680,000

Children with HIV/AIDS                     130,000-160,000                    120,000

AIDS deaths                                        85,000-130,000                    140,000

Orphans due to AIDS                        990,000 to 1.4 million             1 million

When faced with these statistics, our $6,000 seems pretty paltry, but I have been guilty for too long of not doing something because I could not do a large thing.  Since I could not give $1,000, I would not give $100. Since I could not give $100, I would neglect to give $10. I vowed not to do that any longer and I am grateful to you for your generous support as we seek to save a little piece of the world when it is within our power to do so.

Women I will continue to appeal for support in my publications, including my weekly Bible studies, The Monday Memo and my website.  If you have any ideas of how to expand the fund, as we have through the restaurant here in Pittsburgh, please don't hesitate to write and let me know.  In the meantime, thank you for making The Sophia Fund a voice in fighting hunger and disease.  I am attaching two pictures, one of the orphans and the other of the widows you are feeding in Kenya.  It's a little tougher to get pictures from Zimbabwe, but I hope to have some in July.

Thanks again and may God bless you for your generosity.

In Him,

John Stanko


Proverbs 25:2

I send out a Proverb and inspirational quote every day via Facebook and Twitter. I thought I would also send them out this week through my blog.  If you would like to receive them after this week, you can connect with me through either of those two networking services (my Twitter name is @johnstanko and my Facebook search email is johnstanko@att.net). If there are enough people who would like to receive the daily Proverb via the blog, I am willing to continue, so please let me know what you think.  Here is the daily format:

Proverb for today: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings” - 25:2.

God "hides" things so you will seek Him for the answers.  Are you seeking the Lord for any solutions to problems?  What are you learning?  How long are you willing to seek?

To give you an example of the daily inspirational quote, here is the one I sent out yesterday:

"To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it more fit for its prime function of looking forward" - Margaret Fairless Barber.

Let me know what you think by sending your comments to the site where this is posted.


The Summit

I spent part of the weekend with my friends, Bill and Evie von Husen, who pastor The Summit in Hackensack, NJ along with Gary and Kathy Schmidt.  The Summit is the result of two churches merging into one, which can sometimes be a tricky process.  Why is that?  It is because the two churches never quite mesh as they seek to become one and the challenges are usually, but not always, at the leadership level.

The Summit has been meeting for seven weeks and it all looks pretty good from my perspective.  The people are excited, leadership is flowing together. and there certainly was a good spirit in the Sunday meeting. I met with those in leadership on Saturday night and  Sunday afternoon and we talked about a variety of topics. They asked good questions and I enjoyed my time with them, and hope I contributed something that will make their jobs a little bit easier.

On Sunday morning, I spoke on the story of Jonathan and his armor-bearer from 1 Samuel 14 and gave it the title Cliffhanger Faith.  There is a chance I will speak on that in my home church in two weeks, so I will hold off sending out the PowerPoint slides until then.  In the meantime, I pray all God's blessings on The Summit as they impact the Hackensack area with the power of the gospel.  Keep up the good work all.