As a child I only knew Easter to mean baskets with candy and chocolate "bunnies" that were hollow inside. They were fun and tasty, but eventually, hollow is just what you feel if you don't know the reason Jesus came and what this day means for the world. Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Easter is the time that we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Why did He have to die? Because God required a blood sacrifice as the payment for sin. Who's sin? Everyone's. (Romans 5:8) Since God is sovereign, He makes the rules. He says all are sinners and guilty under His law. It began with Adam in the Garden of Eden. He sinned by disobeying God. We are all born of that human nature. All except God's Son, Jesus Christ. He was born of the Holy Spirit of God and so did not have the same sinful nature that all other humans have. He was both fully God and fully human. He came to show us the way to everlasting life. (John 14:6) He died so that we could live. How does his death give us life? He paid the penalty in our place, so when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, God sees us through Jesus, who continually intercedes for us in heaven. Our sin is washed away by the blood Jesus shed on the cross. That's great news! Even better, He continually saves us from the evil in the world until He comes to take us to our everlasting home in heaven with Him. Resurrection - rebirth. Jesus overcame death by the power of God. He died. He was buried. He rose from the dead. He is alive and so we have the hope of everlasting life with Him - only through Him. Praise the Lord! Celebrate Him! Thank you Lord Jesus!
As we celebrate the birth of Christ, may I first thank God for the special gift of salvation that came through Jesus Christ as he suffered and died in my place, saving me from the curse of sin and death. THANK YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST. Because of you, I have everlasting love and the hope of eternal life with you.
Christians are suffering all over the world and I want to personally thank each and every person that has seen a need and helped another in whatever mission God has led them. My special thanks to everyone who has helped in this mission of Tabernacle for a Shadow going around the world over these last 5 years since the book was published. It brings great joy in knowing that God is doing what He said He would do through the efforts of others. If you have a story of where a book was sent or who it was given to, I would love to hear your story and perhaps put it on the website. Meanwhile, I want to thank Rick and Debra Rice for their last two books going to the countries of Thailand and Cambodia. Rick’s recent mission trip to Cambodia resulted in his giving a book to Dareth Ly and his wife, who have been missionaries there since 1996. Dareth’s incredible testimony of his survival in the “killing fields” of Cambodia in the 1970’s as a 7 year old child is told on a video on his website. Link to Dareth’s website: darethly.com/
Thank you also to Judi and Scott Price for taking another book to Cambodia as they are currently serving there. The book went to Transformasia. Here's the link: http://www.transformasia.us/
The combined efforts of Joseph Cofield and Dellnot Gardiner have resulted in the Tabernacle for a Shadow books going to two new countries, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka, as well as another book to Nigeria. Knowing that the love of God in the message of the Tabernacle book are going to these three countries that are especially hostile to Christians is one of the greatest presents I could receive and brings great joy to me on this Christmas Eve. Thank you Joseph and Dellnot.
According to the Voice of the Martyr’s 2014 Global Report:
Sierra Leone “has been ranked as the world’s poorest country for most of the last 10 years. By law, Sierra Leone has freedom of religion. Ethnic religions, the occult and witchcraft are common practices, and Islam is currently on the rise, with mosques being constructed in many communities. Christian converts are stoned and poisoned. Pastors have been seriously beaten and churches destroyed.” Category: Monitored Nation
Religion: Muslim 63%, Christian 13%
“The persecution of Christians has escalated in recent years with the rise of militant Buddhist nationalist groups in Sri Lanka. More than 250 churches have been destroyed or damaged in sectarian violence. Although the constitution guarantees religious freedom while favoring Buddhism, minority Protestants have experienced violent persecution as well as discrimination in employment and education. Less than 1 percent of the population is Protestant. The country passed an anti-conversion law in 2009, making conversion from Buddhism to Christianity illegal, but there is no evidence to indicate that the government is using it against Christians.”
Category: Hostile Nation
Religion: Buddhist 70.0%, Christian 8.4%
Head of State: President Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa
"Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is divided between a Christian culture in the south and a radical Islamic culture in the north that is characterized by massive riots, bombings and a plan to create an Islamic state. Greed and corruption consume all levels of government in this oil-rich nation, which faces the growing challenge of division along religious and ethnic lines. Nigeria has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the USCIRF since 2009.” Category: Hostile Nation
Religion: Christian 51.3%, Muslim 45.1%
Head of State: President Goodluck Jonathan
These are areas being closely monitored by VOM because of a trend toward increased persecution of Christians. The frequency and severity of persecution do not currently meet the criteria of the Hostile category
This includes nations or large areas of nations where governments consistently attempt to provide protection for the Christian population, but Christians are routinely persecuted by family, friends, neighbors or political groups because of their witness.
Link to Voice of the Martyr’s website: http://www.persecution.com/public/prayermap.aspx?
For 2015, let’s continue to pray for each other’s needs and for the spread of the Gospel all over the world. May every Christian be blessed and led to show the love the Lord, Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, to others. Merry Christmas!
Joseph Cofield, my Marketing Director for Tabernacle for a Shadow participated in the 39th Annual Marine Corps Marathon which took place on October 26th in Washington D.C.
He was part of TEAM USO, and raised funds of $2,057.00, which were donated to the USO in support of the active duty and retired service members and their families. He says to all who cheered him on: "Your total support and commitment carried me along that 26.2 route around Washington. I could not have done it without your support!"
THANK YOU, Joseph, for your continued service to spreading the Good News with the Tabernacle for a Shadow Book as well as serving the military families and our community!
I am sure all who live in America have memories of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Here are mine: It was my mother who called me on the morning of 9/11/01 to tell me to turn on the TV. I watched as the planes crashed into the North and South towers, killing nearly 3,000 people. It was shocking and a devastating blow to those of us who live in the United States as well as to the world. It was unthinkable, unbelievable at first. Certainly we want to remember and give thanks to all those whose lives were taken by this act of evil.
However, I was already suffering with the news I had heard only one month earlier. The man I loved, who had been sent by God to be my husband, was told he had only 6 months to live. He was fighting for his life. He would fight the diagnosis and God would give him victory to live 3½ more years. But on March 7, 2005, at the age of 56, God took him home. At that time I realized heaven was real and God has a purpose for my life. The Tabernacle for a Shadow book is God’s gift to His people. It is to remind them that He is the Comforter. It is meant to show them His love for them in these end time trials.
I am grateful to live in the United States. God has shed His beauty and grace as well as His glory on us. God has given each of his children gifts and talents and abilities to be used for His glory. We are not the only country to suffer devastating problems. Today I am looking beyond the United States into the world that needs to know the love of God that we, as Christians, know. That is why God is seeing to it that His book of His word and His creation, Tabernacle for a Shadow, is going around the world by the hands of those who love Him. These books are His seeds. That is why I look even further than the United States and the world to the next realm: eternal life. Not everybody knows the comfort of God. That is why what Dellnot, an educator who lives in the African country of Liberia, wrote yesterday is such a blessing to me today:
Dear Joseph and Susan,
Thank you very kindly for your kind sentiments and for spreading the word of our need for prayer as we battle against Ebola. As a result of the outbreak our institutions are closed - including schools.
However, I am sure that when the time is right, we will continue our work to bring a mobile laboratory to schools in Paynesville who so desperately need it….
Susan, I just met a young lady from Uganda who I believe could use the Tabernacle for a Shadow. She works here and is unable to go home right now so she is very frightened for her family. I know the Tabernacle for a Shadow will lift her spirits. So that's one more Country added…
A couple of days ago I discovered a commentary about the Bible verse from which the title of the book is taken, Isaiah 4:6. John Gill* (who preached in the same church as C. H. Spurgeon over one hundred years earlier) explains it this way: “And there shall be a tabernacle
Christ, who tabernacled in our nature, and is the minister of the true tabernacle, which God pitched, and not man; who will be spiritually present in the word and ordinances, where the shepherds pitch their tents; and who will be that to his people as shepherds' tents are to them, to which the allusion is: for a shadow in the day time from the heat:
from the heat of a fiery law, which works wrath; from the flaming sword of justice, which calls for vengeance; from the wrath of God, which is poured forth like fire; from Satan's temptations, compared to fiery darts; and from the violence of persecution; for there will be no more after the last struggle of the beast, and the slaying of the witnesses: and for a place of refuge;
until the indignation be over and past: as Christ is a refuge for sensible sinners to flee unto for safety, from avenging justice, and the wrath of God; so he is a place of security, and has his chambers of safety for saints, from all dangers, and from every enemy, (Isaiah 26:20, Isaiah 26:21): and for a covert from storm and from rain;
from the blast of the terrible ones, the antichristian powers, which will be as a storm against a wall, (Isaiah 25:4) this will be the hour of temptation, which will come upon and try them that dwell upon the earth, from which Christ will preserve his faithful ones, (Revelation 3:10) (Isaiah 32:2).”
And this commentary from Matthew Henry** says: “…Their tabernacle shall be a defense to them, Isa. 4:6. God’s tabernacle was a pavilion to the saints (Ps. 27:5); but, when that is taken down, they shall not want a covert (cover): the divine power and goodness shall be a tabernacle to all the saints. God himself will be their hiding-place (Ps. 32:7); they shall be at home in him, Ps. 91:9. He will himself be to them as the shadow of a great rock (Isa. 32:2) and his name a strong tower, Prov. 18:10. He will be not only a shadow from the heat in the daytime, but a covert from storm and rain. Note, In this world we must expect change of weather and all the inconveniences that attend it; we shall meet with storm and rain in this lower region, and at other times the heat of the day no less burdensome but God is a refuge to his people in all weathers.
Note also that each of these commentaries refer to Isaiah 32:2 which is also found on the back inside jacket cover of the Tabernacle for a Shadow book.
So no matter what is going on in the world, let us put our trust in Jesus Christ.
*John Gill's Exposition of the Bible - public domain **Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (1712) – public domain
It is with great joy that I have received confirmation that one Tabernacle for a Shadow book is on its way to Cameroon! Many thanks to Dellnot, a young woman who lives in Liberia, for sending this book to this African country. It is with great concern that I also wish to respond to her request: "Please pray for us as we battle Ebola in our country."
Please join me in prayer for Dellnot and for all the people in Africa, as well as others who are aiding people diagnosed with this terrible illness. The World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency on 8/8/14. The West African countries hit hardest by Ebola are Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. These areas are now seeing the departure of many Western development workers. Liberia, population four million, has fewer than 250 doctors left in the entire country, according to the Liberia Medical and Dental Council. For more information: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/31/world/africa/ebola-virus-outbreak-qa.html
Today a book is traveling to Rwanda. I am thrilled to see another seed planted for the glory of God! Twenty years ago the Rwandan Genocide mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu people by members of the Hutu majority killed an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans during the approximate 100-day period from April 7th to mid-July 1994. (from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
While searching for new information on Rwanda this morning, I was encouraged to see a video from World Vision* that shows hope and healing in a once war ravaged country. “Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." (James 5:20)
I am thankful that one person who lives in the country of Rwanda is taking a book there to bring another example of God's love through the Tabernacle for a Shadow book. Small steps but "if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed...” (Matthew 17:20)
Praise the Lora and Blessings to all!
Today is the 4th of July Independence day celebration in our nation but for me it is also another celebration. It's the 5th Anniversary of the Tabernacle for a Shadow publication! It is a good time to reflect on this past year. It is amazing to me to see the process of this journey. Looking from my perspective, it sometimes seems like a slow moving turtle, but I am thankful that God has given me the opportunity to see the movement of the book from His perspective. This adventure is not about how quickly the book moves, though I am grateful that it IS moving in a way that I can see - by numbers and countries, but about the faithfulness of God as He moves in my life and the lives of others through this process. I can see the blessings that it brings to others, such as Reza Karg who sent the message shown on "Languages" posted today. God not only gives me an opportunity to learn and teach with the book, but also I get a great blessing and joy from seeing others learning and growing by the book. Reza volunteered to translate the book into Dutch the day I met him. (you can see his picture in the archives of this section dated 4/26/11. He is seated on the far right of the top picture and I am standing behind him pointing my finger at him!) I think he surprised himself when he realized what he had offered to do, but I know the Holy Spirit led him and so the journey began. Since Reza lives in the country of Suriname, I have not seen him again, yet God has tied our lives together in a way that serves His purpose. Thank you Reza for your willingness to serve God in this manner.
As I reflected back on my writings over his past year, I came across many of the trials I endured throughout the year. The Lord showed me many of the ways it has cost me to follow Him. In May, 2008, I had written what He had asked me, "Will you continue doing the work for me no matter what it costs?" I had answered "Yes" even as I wondered just what costs they would be. Would it be the cost of caring for my mother as she slipped deeper into dementia? Would it be the cost of losing my job? Would it be the financial burden I would carry? Would it be problems with my health? Yes, it would be all these things and more, but it didn't matter. Nothing would be worse than what I had already experienced in my past : darkness and separation from God. The burden Jesus carried for me as He carried that cross to Calvary to free me from sin would be far greater than any cost I could bear. He is my savior. He is my God. He is in control. He can do anything. He has done everything. He has died for me. I will live with Him in eternity. He is calling all to Him. Can you hear?
Fourth of July was the 4th anniversary of the Tabernacle for a Shadow book distribution! In 2009 it was a party at Tim and Debbie Braden's house and the first time the books were publically available for purchase. Even before that, friends Rick and Deb Rice had purchased 100 books the day they arrived, because Rick was one of the men that helped unload the truck when it arrived at my door. In some ways it seems like a long time ago, yet in other ways it seems like yesterday!
Many things have changed and I have met many people over this 4 year journey, but one thing remains the same: the love and faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Another joy for me was to present my pastor and his wife, Michael and Teresa Bannon with one of my framed photographs that was given as a gift by Crossroads Church members, Brian and Sally Oxley.
It was wonderful to realize that this past Sunday, June 30th, was the 7 year anniversary of the date the Lord gave me the mission to make the Tabernacle for a Shadow Book and the day the cover photo was taken!
I thank the Lord that the photograph will be hanging in the foyer of the church directly across from the Tabernacle for a Shadow Book on display. My church family has grown to include people from churches all over the country and missionaries all over the world! Thank you God for choosing me as a vessel for your glory!
I recently joined the Naples Art Association and was happy to have the opportunity to display this framed photograph at the Members 2D-3D Art Exhibition for the month of April. This is the first time I have publicly shown any artwork that was not derived from the Tabernacle for a Shadow Book.
It appears that God is giving me the opportunity to show more new photographs. This month I entered a photograph in the “all media” Words, Signs and Symbols Exhibition. The theme of this juried exhibition was to create work that incorporated some kind of
symbol or words that communicated a deeper meaning. This past Friday was the reception for the artists and was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and see not only the art for the Words, Signs and Symbols show, but also the La Casa Latin American Art Exhibition running simultaneously now through June 1st. If you have not yet been to the Von Liebig Art Gallery, I encourage you to go.
There are many interesting art pieces to see ( look for mine - I won't show it here - you will have to find it there!) and there are also many classes offered for both adults and children throughout the year.
This year's Storyteller's Conference, held at the beautiful Covenant Presbyterian Church in Naples was another wonderful experience! There were many gifted Christian artists at the two-day affair. I had the opportunity to meet other authors and artists from the local area as well as from other states. A very special thank you to Bill Barnett, who orchestrated the whole affair, and to all the people who met to help each other to glorify God in the way He has called them. Above is one of the two framed original photographs from the Tabernacle for a Shadow book that was sold.