Christmas Devotions: The Fall

“Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave me, she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.” So the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman replied, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

God, Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:11-13

The original family was once united. Adam and Eve were unashamed and uninhibited in their love for one another and in their love for God. For a time all was good in the garden of Eden, the original family enjoyed the creation of God and his very presence on a daily basis. They were living the good life.

The good life came to a screeching halt one day as Adam and Eve did the one thing God had commanded them not to do, they ate the fruit of one of the forbidden trees. From the moment of their disobedience the first family experienced something they had never before experienced, brokenness. Their relationship changed form one of love and kindness to one of estrangement and accusations. They no longer enjoyed God’s presence, instead they cowered in fear as they hid themselves from His piercing eyes. The first family was lost, broken and fearful.

The hopelessness of the situation loomed large in their minds. The sadness of the situation caused God’s heart to ache. That heartache ultimately lead to Christmas.

During this season we sing a song with the lyrics “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.” The song poetically describes the grim lostness of mankind but it also reveals the the joy of God’s Christmas actions.

Our hope for you today is that you understand the reality of our collective sin and error, how it leads to our heartache. Furthermore, I hope you experience your soul feeling its worth. After all God loves you so much that He sent His only son to heal you from your brokenness!

Bonus Content:

The hymn playing softly in the background and also mentioned in today’s podcast is O Holy Night. The socialist, anti-clerical, wine and hard spirits dealer Placide Cappeau wrote these words on a stagecoach. They were later set to music by Adolphe Adam and have become one of the most recognizable Carlos of the Christmas season. Adolphe Adam called this poem “la Marseillaise religieuse” (The religious Marseillaise), but the author indicated that he never believed the words that he wrote, he died a secular humanist. It is truly amazing what God can do through us and sometimes despite us!

O holy night! the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope – the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees!
O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the Wise Men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our Friend.
He knows our need– to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King, before him lowly bend!
Behold your King, before him lowly bend!

Truly he taught us to love one another;
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise his name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

With much love,142C6684-1897-4904-B524-B8E0F27EFFD9 The Downings

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Christmas Devotions: Family

“So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.”

The Apostle Paul, Galatians 6:10

Christmas and family are almost synonymous. The God of all creation chose to become flesh and dwell among us by being born in a family. This year when you see a nativity remember Christmas is about the family of God.

In fact, family is so important to God that He reveals Himself as our Heavenly Father, and Jesus as His Son. And through the work of Jesus on the cross God invites us to become part of His family. Part of the message of Christmas is that you are not alone, you are part of a family that truly loves you, lead by a Father who moved heaven and earth to adopt you!

Our hope for you today is that you take every opportunity to do good to all people, especially to our brothers and sisters in the family of God.

Bonus Content:

The Christmas hymn playing in the background of today’s podcast was written by Cecil Frances Alexander. She wrote nearly four hundred hymns many of which where used in Irish public schools to teach students Christian theology. As you read through Once in Royal David’s City notice she uses the language of family to tell the beautiful story of Christmas.

 Once in royal David’s city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all,
and His shelter was a stable,
and His cradle was a stall:
with the poor, and meek, and lowly
lived on earth our Savior holy.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
through His own redeeming love;
for that child so dear and gentle,
is our Lord in heav’n above,
and He leads His children on
to the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
with the oxen standing by,
we shall see Him, but in heaven,
set at God’s right hand on high;
when like stars His children crowned
all in white shall wait around.

With much love,19541BB1-C508-4835-A84B-0FA67F2E5AA8 The Downings

To find out more about our ministry please click here!

Christmas Devotions: Before Time

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.”

The Apostle John, John 1:1-5

The family of God was lost and broken but God had a plan. He looked at Jesus, His son who was as close to Him as His Word, and gave him a mission. The mission was to make it possible for God the Father to adopt sons and daughters into His divine family.

So, the Word of God become flesh and dwelt among us. He brought life and light, he brought a new reality, an opportunity to join the family of God. The little baby laid in a manger that first Christmas made a way for you to become a child of God!

Our hope for you today is that you make sure you have joined God’s family. If you are not sure you can pray the prayer below.

God, I know I have done bad things. I know I am lost, but I also know that you sent your son to find me. God please adopt me into your family. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bonus Content:

The music which accompanied this podcast is the hymn Of the Father’s Heart Begotten. This selection was written by Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius. He was considered The Christian Pindar. The great bulk of his poems were not intended to be sung but many of his writings were included in the Mozarabic rite. His religious convictions came late in life. Let the truth woven through this hymn elevate your thoughts today.

Of the Father’s heart begotten
ere the world from chaos rose,
he is Alpha: from that Fountain,
all that is and hath been flows;
he is Omega, of all things
yet to come the mystic Close,
evermore and evermore.

By his word was all created;
he commanded and ’twas done;
earth and sky and boundless ocean,
universe of three in one,
all that sees the moon’s soft radiance,
all that breathes beneath the sun,
evermore and evermore.

He assumed this mortal body,
frail and feeble, doomed to die,
that the race from dust created
might not perish utterly,
which the dreadful Law had sentenced
in the depths of hell to lie,
evermore and evermore.

O how blest that wondrous birthday,
when the Maid the curse retrieved,
brought to birth mankind’s salvation,
by the Holy Ghost conceived,
and the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
in her loving arms received,
evermore and evermore.

This is he, whom seer and sybil
sang in ages long gone by;
this is he of old revealèd
in the page of prophecy;
lo! he comes, the promised Saviour;
let the world his praises cry!
evermore and evermore.

Sing, ye heights of heaven, his praises;
Angels and Archangels, sing!
wheresoe’er ye be, ye faithful,
let your joyous anthems ring,
every tongue his name confessing,
countless voices answering,
evermore and evermore.

With much love,19541BB1-C508-4835-A84B-0FA67F2E5AA8 The Downings

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Christmas Devotion: Symbols

“For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship.”

Hebrews 10:1

Much of what we see and experience during the Christmas season is symbolic. Symbols are important because they remind us of a greater reality. This Christmas as you see the sights and sounds of the season take some time to remember the truth that the symbols point to.

When you see the Christmas star remember that the star was fulfillment of the promise that a new star would arise on the night of Christ’s birth.
When you see a Christmas wreath remember that the wreath originated as a reminder of the crown of thorns worn by the Savior on the cross; it also reminds us that God’s plan is eternal. The wreath symbolizes eternity and the eternal nature of Christ’s love. It is a circle, without beginning and without end.

When you give or receive gifts think of the significance of the act of giving. We give and receive gifts at Christmas time in remembrance of Heavenly Father’s greatest gift of all: His son Jesus Christ.

When you see and smell a Christmas tree think about its color. The color of the evergreen tree remains all year round. Our Christmas trees represent eternal life—the greatest gift from our Savior.

When you see a nativity set remember that God chose to bless the world through a family. Give thanks to God that he blessed you by giving you your family.

Our hope for you this Christmas season is that the reality of the symbols will elevate your thoughts. That you will be constantly reminded of Jesus, the true reason for our hope and joy this season.

Bonus content:

The background music on this episode is the hymn Faith in Christ Our Sacrifice. The hymn was written by Isaac Watts who was an English Pastor in the 1700’s. Although this hymn is not considered a Christmas hymn it’s profound message elucidates our thoughts and helps us embrace the reality of Christ’s sacrifice. At the same time it helps us see the shadows of the Old Testament’s sacrificial system.  Let these lyrics guide you as you ponder today’s Christmas devotion.

Not all the blood of beasts
on Jewish altars slain
could give the guilty conscience peace
or wash away the stain.

But Christ, the heav’nly Lamb,
takes all our sins away;
a Sacrifice of nobler name
and richer blood than they.

My faith would lay her hand
on that dear head of Thine,
while like a penitent I stand,
and there confess my sin.

My soul looks back to see
the burden Thou didst bear
when hanging on the cursed tree;
I know my guilt was there.

Believing, we rejoice
to see the curse remove;
we bless the Lamb with cheerful voice
and sing His bleeding love.

Love, The Downing Family

Here are two links that we would love for you to check out.

Your prayers, encouragement and financial support play a major role in making our ministry in Ecuador possible. Will you please make a Christmas donation to our ministry? You can click here to be directed to our giving portal.

If you would like to have a paperback copy of Christmas Devotions or any other book that Timothy has written Please click here.

November Update (2021)

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

I thank my God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.

Philippians 1:2-5
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Love, The Downing Family

Who Is The Founder Of The Church?

Who founded the Church? To answer this question we consider an excerpt from the book THE CHURCH OF GOD, WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT by D.S. Warner.

We are told that Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Heb. 11:10 And in the next chapter, the apostle Paul says to the converted Hebrews, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” 12:22-24

That city—“whose builder and maker is God”—we have come unto in the gospel dispensation, and it is “the church of the first- born.” Christ, who was “God… manifest in the flesh,” 1 Tim. 3:16 is the founder, builder, and maker of the church. “For this man [Christ Jesus] was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” Heb. 3:3-4 “Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church… holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:25-27 “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18

With much love,6EF7E090-4274-4931-9223-67A638494696 The Downings

If you enjoyed this podcast click here to listen to last week’s Sunday Teaching. 

Eating Bugs

This post was fir published on September of 2019


In the Sierra after the first rain of the rainy season you will see little holes in the ground. The holes are made by beetles coming up to the surface. When this happens people collect them early in the morning. Ecuadorians will eat the beetles, known as katsos. They are boiled and then fried. They have a crunchy texture and a smoky flavor.

Love,

EDE2EA27-63A9-4BF4-88DE-EE1E608DBD44
Tim 2, Elias, Ezequiel, Timothy, Angelita, Esperanza and Adelena

The Downing Family

Click here to find recipes from Ecuador.

Living Committed

God is reaching the lost not through programs but through individuals whose lives are so committed to Him that He uses them as vessels to anoint a lost world.

K.P. Yohannan, Revolution in World Missions

Good programs and great vision draw the attention of many Christians. And as followers of Christ we do help the poor as described in Matthew 25, not because we are commissioned to but because something changes in our very nature when we become followers of Christ. But our divinely originated empathy for the downtrodden is no replacement for our divinely anointed mission. 

God changes the world not through programs but through presence. Jesus gave us the ultimate example. He became flesh and dwelt among us. He preformed many miracles and taught the multitudes all great programs. But his lasting impact was carried forth by the eleven people who he successfully discipled. 

May we be like Christ. May we live lives so committed to God that He uses us as vessels to anoint a lost and dying world. 

With much love, 1CD38D2B-A6B2-4EFB-AFD7-7812C81D5BCEThe Downings

Some Day

In an acceptable time I have heard you,

And in the day of salvation I have helped you.

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2
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Love, The Downings

Women’s Conference

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

Matthew 11:28-30
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