Do not be Shy – Ask Questions

Every time I teach, I ask, “You understand?” Most often the deaf will say, “Yes, I understand.” However, when you begin asking them about the subject, they do not know. On Sunday, I was teaching about “grace.” “You understand means grace? Yes, we understand. What means grace? I don’t know.” This is a common conversation I have had many, many times. How can you be sure people understand everything? Ask questions.

1. Ask about Biblical people. Whenever I sign a name of a Bible person, I always ask, “Who Moses? Who Adam? Who Jesus?” Never think everyone already knows who they are. Ask questions about what they did, where they went, and how they followed God.

2. Ask about Bible stories. I saw a deaf man teach about Jonah. I asked him, “You know Jonah?” He said “”Yes.” He began to teach the story. He used a large picture of Jonah. He pointed to the picture and said, “One of the people is Jonah, but I do not know which one. I do not know what Jonah did, but go to church.” He had no idea about Jonah’s story. Ask questions before the story. Ask questions during the story. Ask questions after the story. Make sure they understand.

3. Ask about Bible words. Many times here our deaf may know a sign and either do not understand it or have the wrong meaning. I was teaching about “mercy.” Asked them the meaning of mercy. They signed “beg.” (Here in the Philippines, beggars ask for money by saying the word, “mercy”.) Ask the meaning of the Bible signs to make sure they understand the right meaning of Bible signs.

4. Ask about Bible Doctrines. Ask questions about Bible teachings. For example, I always ask the deaf about the doctrine of sin. “What means sin? Who sin? Who not sin?” By asking questions, you can know what they do and do not understand, and then teach them what they need to know.

Do not be shy. Ask questions so you can know what people do and do not understand.

Deliberate Discipleship – Part 5

What Is A Disciple?

Discipleship requires a qualified mentor (disciple-maker; discipler) and at least one disciple. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost states, “There is a vast difference between being saved and being a disciple. Not all men who are saved are disciples although all who are disciples are saved. In discussing the question of discipleship, we are not dealing with a man’s salvation. We are dealing with a man’s relationship to Jesus Christ, Who is his Teacher, his Master, and his Lord.” Through my years of ministry I have discovered that there are many Christians who do not have the mindset of a disciple. But, what is the mindset of a disciple?

A disciple is a follower and a learner. A disciple has, and must have, a teachable spirit. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who are not willing to follow Christ explicitly, much less follow a mentor. On a few occasions, I have attempted to mentor a few men in areas of their spiritual lives but found that they were not willing to follow me.

Jesus Christ told us to go into all the world and make disciples, but for that to happen, there have to be followers: people who will follow us, learn from us, and grow to be like us, and ultimately like Christ. The apostle Paul is an excellent example of one who made disciples, and on several occasions he told people to follow him (I Cor. 11:1; 4:16; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; I Thess. 1:6).

Here are some things to look for when choosing disciples: 1) A Desire for a Greater Knowledge of God (Ps. 42:1-2; 63:1); 2) A Hunger for God’s Word (John 8:31; Acts 17:11; II Tim. 2:15); 3) A Thirst for Holy Living (Titus 2:12; II Cor. 7:1): characterized by a Hatred for Sin (Col. 3:5-9) and a Love for Righteousness (I Thess. 4:3-4); 4) A Commitment to the Lordship of Christ (Matt. 6:24; II Cor. 5:15): characterized by self-denial (Matt. 8:19-20; 16:14; Luke 14:26, 33) and a surrender to God’s will; 5) A Craving to Be Used of God (Rom. 1:10-11): characterized by availability (Cp. Matt. 9:9 & 19:21-22), faithfulness (II Tim. 2:2), ability to teach (II Tim. 2:2), and a vision for multiplication (Matt. 28:18-20); and 6) A Heart for People (John 13:35; I Thess. 4:9; Heb. 10:25).

“If a man is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, he must set himself aside totally and completely: to know nothing of himself, to have no will of his own concerning his own life, to have no affection to which he gives his heart.” ― J. Dwight Pentecost

Welcome to My Deaf World

MY FAMILY IS 7 DEAF of 11 PEOPLE

Exodus 4:11 – “And the Lord said unto him (Moses), Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb (unspeak), or DEAF, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord?” The Lord makes no mistake about “DEAF.” He makes no mistake for the blind, handicapped, cripple, or whatever disability people have. The Lord loves everyone very much. I was born deaf, but my twin sister is not deaf. I am the only deaf in my family of parents, 3 brothers and 3 sisters. When I grew up, I married a deaf lady, Debbie. We had three children – one daughter, Joy, is hearing and two sons, John and Justin, are deaf. Then Joy married Chris Waters (hearing). They have three children – two daughters, Nikki (hearing) and Rylie (deaf), and one son Trent (hearing). They are my grandchildren. John married Anna Runkle (deaf). They have no children yet. Justin married Neressa Frink (deaf). They have a new baby daughter, Amarante. She was born on May 16, 2017. She is deaf, too. I thank God that my family is 7 deaf of 11 people. But Chris, Joy, Nikki and Trent know sign language. Praise the Lord for them – Deaf and hearing. God is good to me. He made no mistake for us. I believe God did make me deaf. He wants me to serve Him by preaching to deaf people about the Bible and Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Deaf need spiritual help? To contact Allen, click here.

Love is Necessary

The Deaf can love God and other people. Some of the best verses to learn about love are in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Paul said that if a person does not love, all other things are worthless! Deaf people who love God and other people can do wonderful things. They can glorify God and help other deaf or hearing people. If you really love, you must be serious and think of other hearing and deaf people. Do not be bitter at other people, but love them. The Bible says, “Let love be without dissimulation (hypocrisy). Abhor (despise or hate) that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned (love) one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring (give delight to) one another” (Romans 12:9-10).

Jesus said if we love Him (God), we will obey Him (John 15:10). Jesus commanded us to love other people. We learn that the Deaf can follow Jesus and show love for others. Deaf Christians will show love for God, Jesus, and other people.

How can you live right and love other people? Obey these lessons from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
1. Love is patient
2. Love is kind
3. Love never gives up on people
4. Love will never end
5. Love is never selfish
6. Love is not jealous7. Love is not rude

When you love, you will want good things for other hearing and Deaf people. This week love someone else. Think more of others instead of yourself.

The Deaf can love God and other people!

From My Home to Your Home

A woman today wants to find the best name brand clothing (Lord & Taylor’s, Saks Fifth Ave, Liz Claiborne). When ladies go shopping and find a good deal at the second-hand store, they come home all excited about the great buy! It is a thrill for a lady to find such a treasure. Proverbs 31:25 says, “Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come.” I have never heard of the name brand, “Strength and Honor.” After reading Proverbs 31, that is what kind of clothing I desire.

Summer is here, and children are out of school. Sometimes we get out of daily practice and become lazy. As moms/wives we become weary and think no one notices all the work we do for them. Do they care that they have clean clothing, a clean bed, and a clean house? Do they appreciate the meals we make for them? And then we see the dishes pile up again! We just washed them yesterday, and there they are again! Sometimes a woman can get tired of doing the same things over and over. We can become weary in disciplining our children. Is it worth it? Are they learning? Gal.6:9 “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Let me encourage you not to become weary in doing the necessary things. They will pay off! Daily little things are important. A woman’s clothing can be “strength and honor” as she does the “little” things. Sometimes the “necessary things” can seem unimportant, but they can be the glue that will hold your family together in the tough times. Keep doing the small things. Don’t quit! Don’t stop! Don’t give up! If you will stay with it, there will be time of rejoicing in the future. Remember, you could be wearing the nicest clothing man can make, but that is not as important as wearing “strength and honor” in serving your family.

Remember

Some events, such as holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries happen every year. This means at least once a year we have a special time to remember and reflect on things of the past. There are holidays that help us think about our country and the people that fought and even died to give and protect our freedoms; holidays to honor famous people of the past; and holidays to help us reflect on special events (even the resurrection of Christ). You may remember a birthday in the past when you had a special birthday party. Maybe others thought they surprised you, but you had known the plans for a while. Maybe you went somewhere you had always wanted to go or saw something you had always wanted to see. Some birthdays may have been normal, but others were very memorable. Anniversaries are a great time to think back to the wedding day. Were you nervous? Did you wonder if you would forget to say something or move to the right place? Maybe you would trip over your wedding gown, or the candles would not light. Anniversaries can cause you to think back to the promises made and to reflect on the many good times, bad times, joys, and trials that have come your way since then.

The Bible tells us some other things we should remember. However, because our lives are so busy, we seldom take the time. The Lord repeatedly told Israel to remember where He had brought them from (the slavery of Egypt) and how He had led them all forty years in the wilderness (Deut. 8:2; 15:15; 24:18,22). We, too, should remember that before salvation we were slaves to sin, but once saved, we are free from its chains to serve Him (Rom. 6:22). We are to “remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth” (I Chron. 16:20). We should remember the works of the Lord (Psa. 77:11) and the words of God (Psalm 119:16). “We will remember the name of the Lord our God” (Psa. 20:7), for He is the One in whom we trust. Like Israel, we must remember that God is our Rock and our Redeemer (Psalm 78:35), and He has delivered us from our enemies (Judges 8:34). God will not forget us (Heb. 13:5) nor our service (Heb. 6:10); let us not forget all His benefits (Psa.103:2). Today think on these things. Remember.

 

“Reunion Day”

My Dad, Buck Gifford, was one of eight siblings, five boys, three girls. Through the years, I was impressed how the eight of them stayed so close. They genuinely cared for one another. For many years they met together for a Gifford Clan reunion, which they thoroughly enjoyed. One by one they have passed away. It is amazing the long life the Lord gave them. One died at age 98, three at 95, two at 89, one at 85, and one (my dad) at 82. Through the years, as family and friends gathered for the funeral services, we cousins would reminisce about the past reunions our parents enjoyed. Someone always said, “We need to have a cousins reunion.” All of us would agree but after everyone went their way, the suggestion died and the reunion did not happen. This year, in April, the youngest of the siblings, Uncle Leon, passed away at age 95. After the graveside service, one of the cousins again suggested a reunion. I said the need to make it happen is for someone to take the leadership. Cousin Pat said, “I appoint you!” I responded, “Okay, I will do it!” Thus the beginning of the 2017 Gifford Clan Reunion.

The date and place were decided and we began to make the contacts. Through the help of the Internet, social media, texting, the telephone, postal mail, personal visits, and word of mouth, most of the family was informed. Everyone was asked to bring their picture memories and food to share. Distance prevented some of the families from attending. Some were too ill to attend. For others, work and travel hindered attendance, and some were not interested. For a few, past grievances stood in the way. On the other hand, one family interrupted their vacation travel plans to attend. One family from another state traveled all night in order to be involved in the special reunion. One mother was especially blessed to have all four of her children with her on this special day.

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, fifty-eight of the Gifford Clan enjoyed good southern cooking, games, door prizes, sweet fellowship, sharing of memories, and meeting of some family members for the first time.

From all over the world those “in Christ” will be caught up together for the grandest of all reunions. That will be a glad reunion day. All in the family will be in attendance. Work and travel schedules, distance, illness, disinterest, grievances, nothing, absolutely nothing will hinder attendance. We cannot even imagine all that is planned for this reunion. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Corinthians 2:9). A song I grew up with is a reminder of the reunion day for the Family of God.

Glad Reunion Day
“There will be a happy meeting in heaven I know.
When we see the many loved ones we’ve known here below
Gather on the blessed hilltops with hearts all aglow
That will be a glad reunion day.
“When we live a million years in that wonderful place.
Basking in the love of Jesus beholding His face.
It will seem but just a moment of praising His grace.
That will be a glad reunion day.
“Glad day, a wonderful day…”

This is written because I care… Carlene.

 

Expanding the Message

Deaf people communicate differently than hearing people. Hearing may answer, “How are you?” with one word, “Fine.” Deaf may give a summary of each day since you last saw each other. Interpreters need to learn to communicate as Deaf people do. This was one of the topics in this years’ ASL Institute.

English to ASL Expansion Techniques:

1. Contrasting – Tell what it is and what it is not. “Medium, not large, not small, medium.”

2. Faceting – Using a series of synonyms to make the meaning more specific, guiding the viewer to a particular meaning. “I am thrilled – happy, smile, thumbs-up, jump-up-and-down, inspired.”

3. Reiteration – Repeat a sign or signs in exactly the same way they were signed before. “Awesome, I enjoy Deaf Camp, Awesome.”

4. 3-D Space – Using the space around you to set up nouns and their relationships. This may include Role-shifting, Classifiers, and other techniques.

5. Explain by Examples – Using examples to explain an idea. “Makes of vehicles – Ford, Chevy, BMW, Toyota, Mazda, Honda.”

6. Couching – Adding background or context information to make the idea more clear. “Fan Belt – Car, open hood, engine, (belt around pullies).”

7. Describe Then Do – Describe with words, then demonstrate. “Watch Football – (act out being at the game, or watching TV from couch, or half sleeping with a remote in your hand).”

These are easier said than done. Practice one method each week until they all become natural and easy.

Looking for “More” Leaders

We are always looking for more leaders for Deaf ministries. We need both Deaf and Hearing leaders. We need more preachers, teachers, van drivers, and many other ministry workers. We need more interpreters and helpers. Some think they are not qualified because of education, handicaps, or deafness. Many Deaf people are now serving the Lord throughout the world. You can also become a leader. The Bible gives qualifications in Titus and 1 & 2 Timothy for church leadership. You may not be qualified to be a preacher or a deacon, but all good Christians can be used of the Lord. Many people from all levels of life were used by God. Many great men and women of the Bible did not have certain abilities, skills, or education, but God did for them what they could not do for themselves. God looks at your heart and your desire to be used. “But God hath chosen the foolish things… to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things… to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Cor. 1:27). Some may serve God with their handicaps from a wheelchair or sick bed. God used some who were limited as Moses (speech), Peter (temper), Paul (sickly), widow woman (only two mites), and John Baptist (a common man). God has a place for every Christian. Find your place. God is still looking for people to use, especially in the deaf ministry. Good leadership begins with a godly desire, and willingness to serve. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (2 Cor. 8:12). Are you willing to be used of God? Do you want to be used of God? More next issue.

Starting on The Blessed Way

Who? God started with Adam & Eve (Gen. 1-2)
What? “God blessed them…” (1:28)
When? On the 6th Day of Creation (1:31)
Where? In the “garden eastward in Eden” (2:8)
Why? God made life & marriage to be very good.
How? Worship – It was natural for Adam and Eve to worship God. (He created them.)
Submit – God made Adam & Eve from lowly dust & rib. Adam was made for God. Eve was made for man.
Work – God worked to create. He also gave them work and responsibilities (to care for garden). Walk – God walked with them in the cool of the day (fellowship and exercise). Rest – God did not tell Adam and Eve to work all the time. God rested, they rested.
Eat – God made healthy food for Adam & Eve (all fresh!). They could eat of all trees except one. Not Eat – God set a law for Adam & Eve. (Don’t eat from one tree!) They had a choice to eat or not.
Subdue – God said to subdue the earth (discipline).
Dress & Keep – They were to keep home and self neat & clean. Show Difference – God made male and female… a complete couple!
Be Blessed – God’s first act to both of them was to “bless” them. Be Fruitful – God’s first words to the couple were on intimacy: “Be fruitful” (have children).
Be One – God made two and told them to become one. They completed each other as husband and wife.
Application: God’s way is as good today as it was in the beginning. Learn to benefit from His Blessed Way!

This is The Blessed Way – RC

 

The Silent Word

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