Jesus In; His Attributes Coming Out

Hello!!!! “I’m back from the Front, Old Top!”

That is an old saying from World War I. I learned it from my dad who heard it from his dad who was a WWI vet. When a soldier said it, he’d hit his friend on his back, then his front, and then would pat his head — “I’m back from the Front, Old Top!” I too say it occasionally, but without the gestures.

Paul sharing the gospel with a young man who prayed to receive Christ at the mission's Salsa Festival on March 29.

Paul sharing the gospel with a young man who prayed to receive Christ at the mission’s Salsa Festival on March 29.

So, we’re back from Florida where we spent 17 days at the Good Samaritan Mission. Wow! We were kept busy and enjoyed building friendships, helping with projects, and worshiping and serving our LORD together with many.

GSM's director, Bill Cruz (right),  his wife, Theresa (Seeds of Change director), son Gabe (left)

GSM’s director, Bill Cruz (right), his wife, Theresa (Seeds of Change director), son Gabe (left)

When we flew home, we picked up friends at the airport within an hour of our arrival and brought them home with us for a week’s visit!  As I write this post, this is our first full day of recovery after our Florida trip and the company visit! I’ve twaddled around copacetically all day. Ahh!!!! I’m so glad we spent the time at the mission in Florida! I’m so thankful for the time with my dear friend and her daughter and the day trips we did last week, mingled with all our conversations and prayer!  And now I have a quiet recovery week!!!!

It’s been a while since we met on JNC, so let me update you all. We’re in the middle of a series called Good Reads, Good Health, and Good Deeds. (I hope to address something about health soon.) In the last two posts, the main topic was Harry Blamire’s book, The Christian Mind.  I listed his six marks of a Christian mind, which are as follows: 1. A spiritual orientation; 2. An awareness of evil; 3. A conception of truth; 4. Acceptance of authority;     5. Concern for the Person; 6. A sacramental cast.  These are the topics of each of his main chapters.  We did not have space or time to explain any of them. The topics have given us the main ideas.

One reader, Shirley, sent a meaty reply to the last post which would be worth your reading or re-reading. She observed that “We need to put Jesus in and His attributes will come out.” Now, here’s a test we can employ to inventory our lives. What’s going in and what’s coming out? Why?

Theresa Cruz, Director of Seeds of Change, unloading food from a truck.

Theresa Cruz, Director of Seeds of Change, unloading food from a truck.

Theresa with some Bible Study students.

Theresa with some Bible Study students.



So, looking back over our time in Florida at the Good Samaritan Mission, I can ask myself, “From what kind of mind was I operating?” Did I respond from a spiritual orientation, rather than a mere material, expedient, and utilitarian orientation? I can ask myself questions based upon Blamire’s six categories. (Since I haven’t clarified his six points, you have to go with your own conception of what biblical base is behind each of them.) And from Shirley’s admonition, I can ask, “Were Jesus’ qualities coming out of me?” and “What ones, how. . . ?”  Here are a few of my reflections.

First, I’m grateful to have a spiritual orientation of life – an outlook that sees more than the visible, material, and humanistic.  I “see” an invisible Hand guiding and “hear” a quiet Voice calling. My willingness to return to a place where my allergies are taxed and my fibromyalgia buttons are pushed, where in past stays I’ve been bitten to distraction by flees, “no-see-ums” and such, where humidity saps my energy, where I’m exposed to all kinds of germs from public places (whine, whine) . . .  offers me an opportunity not to wimp out, to die to myself, not to feel sorry for myself, to focus on loving other people and serving them in simple ways as Jesus did, such as when He washed His disciples’ feet.

Just by surrendering to go, I was offered the opportunity not only to love, but also to be loved and appreciated, to build friendships, to worship together with people of different cultures, to try different foods, to see other beauties, to laugh and bond and enjoy God’s gifts.  The paradoxes of Christ’s truths became experience — “If you want to save your life, lose it…” —  in the most obvious and basic ways.

Karen made lunch for staff & volunteers.

Karen made lunch for staff & volunteers.




Shirley explained, “We need to put Jesus in and His attributes will come out.”  While I hope others witnessed something of this in me, I do know that I witnessed this in the lives of numerous people I met at the mission. The person who impacted me most was Denaye, a 26 year old young mother of three who is the pastor’s wife at the church that is located on the mission. Only 26. With a 3 year old daughter,  2 year old son, and a 6 month old baby girl. She helps clean parts of the mission in preparation for church services. She helps prepare dinner for over 20 children, plus adults, and her own family on Wednesday nights, and then stays late to help clean up.  I’d love to tell you more about Denaye and her humbly talented husband, Joel.  I just want you to know that this young mother (with her Jesus- filled heart and life) took my heart.

Denaye made dinner in her home for us.

Denaye made dinner in her home for us.

Denaye clearly expressed a gentle, diligent, and creative spirit. May the Lord continue to energize her with wisdom, health, and all she needs  —  from her inner person out.  May she continue to put Jesus in, and may His attributes progressively exude from her. “Let no man despise thy youth, but be an example. . .” (I Timothy 4:12). This young mama was an example to me.

I’m so  pleased that Denaye and I had time to talk together, and that I had the opportunity not only to enjoy her children, but to encourage her and to hug her when she was weary.  I couldn’t do her work for her, but I could encourage her in organization and delegation.  (I did get to clean and reorganize the industrial, mission kitchen which was satisfying to me, and to be noted, not Denaye’s responsibility though she uses the kitchen. Volunteers are always needed there!) Anyway, just being understanding touches the heart.

This week in the quietness of my home, I’ll reflect upon the past month and pray for the dear people I’ve spent time with — that’s the best spiritual touch I can give.

While I wish I could share more,  I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures I’ve included in this post!

Pastor Joel and Denaye Walters with Abigail, Jedediah, and baby Anna

Pastor Joel and Denaye Walters with Abigail, Jedediah, and baby Anna



Paul & Karen with Abigail (3), Jedediah (2), and Anna (six months)!!!

Paul & Karen; Jedediah,  Anna, & Abigail

“…the way we think of and respond to God is the most practical thing we do. 

In matters of everyday practicality, nothing, absolutely nothing, takes precedence over God.”  

Eugene H. Peterson in his introduction to Proverbs.

Categories: Being Like Jesus, Spiritual Growth | Tags: | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Jesus In; His Attributes Coming Out

  1. debra

    Glad you were able to take this trip! Thanks for sharing the pictures. I pray the Lord restores your strength and energy this week 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. And thank you for ministering to Ruth Ann and me by allowing us the luxury of staying in your home while you were in Florida – just another way in which you let “His Attributes Come Out,” denying self and reflecting Christ. Keep letting Jesus in, the results are amazing.

    • kltolsen

      You make me smile, but we did not have to deny ourselves to let you stay at our house while we were in Florida! It was a “win-win” for you took good care of the place and all was in good order when we came back! Your stay was an efficient use of resources God has entrusted to us to steward. We were happy to know that we were sharing our home with dear friends and missionaries who would benefit from a place to rest and relax. Also, while you were here, you accomplished some work goals. Excellent. You also attended our church and encouraged our people! And we had some time to visit together before we flew out, so that was a blessing (though hectic)! We appreciate your ministry!

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