Sunday, August 21, 2011

Approaching the Throne!

You know, when you think about it, travel has really changed in the last hundred years or so.
Back about a hundred years ago, the most used means of travel was by horse, or wagon.  If you had to travel a long distance, then you either went by train or boat.  International travel was almost unheard of, because it took a LONG time to cross the ocean and get to where you were going.
Today, we can move around in the USA via our Interstate highway system, and literally be across the country in 24 hours.  We can travel from coast to coast in the time that just a hundred years ago, took us to travel across a few counties.
Today, we can travel by Plane literally around the world in a day.  In fact, this week, I will fly from South America, to New York City, to Atlanta, and then to Fayetteville Arkansas in a little over 15 hours. . . total!  That is AMAZING!  Over 4,000 miles in one day’s time!
If people of a hundred years ago were here today, they would be amazed!
We travel by Bicycle, Motor Cycle, Segway, Car, Bus, Plane. . .and much more.  And instead of using Boats now for travel, we use them for VACATION!  And the ships have EVERYTHING!  Driving ranges, Malls, Pools, Casino’s, Las Vegas Shows, Buffets, and everything else you can imagine.
But no doubt, the most amazing way to travel is what we are doing RIGHT NOW!  The INTERNET!
I am typing this blog from my office / bedroom in Guyana.  And seconds after I press the publish button, it can be read all over the world.  In fact, I was looking at the “stats” page for the blog tonight, and saw that people from the following countries have visited this blog. . . .The USA, Canada, The United Kingdom, Guyana, Dominica, Barbados, Australia, India, Switzerland, Germany, Nigeria, and South Korea.  I am TRULY amazed!
One of the real blessings of the Internet is you can literally travel the world over, right from your seat.  In fact, while I have been in Guyana this trip, I have been able to email, and even call my family with Voice Over Internet Protocol and hear their voice.  And so even though I am far away. . .I don’t feel so far away.  All thanks to the Internet.
And as wonderful and amazing as all that is, the truth is, that we can even travel further than our own planet today.  And no, I am not talking about space travel. . . I’m talking about talking to the one who created it all!
God gives us the incredible ability to enter His very throne room, and talk to Him about anything that is on our hearts.  And we can enter His throne room without hesitation, or without being timid about our requests!  And He listens!
Hebrews 4:16 says it best. . .”16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
While we are “on the road” we often find ourselves in need.  The good news is. . .God is there to listen.  And we can approach Him BOLDLY, and ask for His help!  We don’t have to skulk in the corner and wait for Him to see us.  We can approach His throne. . .as one of His Children, and ask for help. . .that we will receive in our time of need!
When you are out on the road, and things go wrong. . .remember that you can approach the very throne room of God. . .and find your help!.  You can do this with confidence and boldness. . .and know that He listens, He cares, and He will see you through!
Give that a try in your travels.  It will make the journey so much better!
See you on the road!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Travel in the 21st Century. . .

As many of you have noted. . .I travel a LOT!  When I am in the states, it is not uncommon for me to be on the road between 800 and 1,500 miles a week.  Much of that travel is via my car.  This lifestyle started about 20 years ago, when I started working in Guyana too.

20 years ago, when I got back stateside, I would purchase a new Atlas from Wal Mart, load up my car with CD's and Cassettes, and hit the road.  But today. . .things are different.

Today, when I get into my car, I plug in my XM Radio and listen to tons of music, news, and sports talk in CD quality no matter where I am.  I also plug in my trusty GPS device.

Now these two devices have UTTERLY changed my life on the road.  First off. . . I can listen to the same radio "station" all day. . . .even if I travel 500 miles in one day.  Secondly, I can leave a location ANYWHERE, and punch in the address I am traveling to, and it will lead me right to the door.  This is amazing!  And I don't have to look at a map.  I just follow the GPS attached to my windshield and get right where I am going.

Lots of times, when I am in a place I don't know so well. . .as soon as I get to my location (Church, Preacher's house, Hotel, etc.) I save the location so that I know I can always get back to that spot if needed.

One time, while Colleen and I were in Jacksonville years ago, we had gone to someone's house for the evening.  On the way back to where we were staying, I was on a major highway, and before I knew it, I was in a lane that made me take a different road.  As we were entering that road, I was complaining that I had made a wrong turn and now we were going to spend a while getting back on the road we needed to be.  Colleen said, "Why don't you just listen to your GPS?  It will get you back where you want to go."

She was right, and in just a matter of moments, we were back on track and on our way to our home for the evening.

There have been lot's of times that I have used that GPS to get me right where I wanted to go.  In fact, I have talked to people in a town I've never been to, and just asked for their address. . .and driven right to their door.  The GPS always guides me where I want to go.

You know. . . that is how God's word is too!  It leads us, it guides us, and it gets us out of trouble.  But only if we look at it.  Just like that GPS, if I don't look at it. . . it can't help me.

The Psalmist said "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my pathway." (Psalms 119:105)  And much like the GPS is a light to our pathway today. . . God's word is our CONSTANT GPS!

My GPS keeps me from getting lost, it helps me to find my way, and it tells me what the turns and road looks like ahead.

God's word works EXACTLY the same way!  His word keeps us from getting lost, helps us to find our way, and tells us what the turns and road looks like ahead!

It occurs to me that if we would just follow God's word, many of the pitfalls, disasters, and wrong turns in life could be avoided.  If we spent just as much time in God's word as we do on the internet, or watching the news, or reading the paper. . . we would find that the road in life would be a lot less bumpy, and we would easily find our way on our journey.

We are going to make wrong turns. . .both in our cars. . . and in our lives.  When that happens, perhaps the best thing, if not the only thing we should do, is consult the guide.  Be it the GPS in our Car. . . or God's word in our life.

Spend time every day in God's word.  It will keep you from getting lost, and in fact, can keep you from making those wrong turns in the first place.

See you on the Road!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Planes, Storms, and more. . .Part Two

Well, a few days ago I posted a blog of my trip to St. Lucia. . .   Boy, was it a trip I won’t soon forget!
Virtually the entire time I was there, I got to see what a Tropical Storm looks like, up close and personal.  It was really an interesting experience.  And on the island of St. Lucia, there was flooding and even mud slides.  It was a real mess.
As a result, there were lots of Hotel employee’s at the hotel that could not make it to work.  Restaurants were closed, and the shuttle service through the hillside resort was greatly curtailed.  At times, the rain was coming down so hard, that you could barely see anything over 30 feet away.  
On Wednesday August 3rd, I started the journey back to Guyana, and it was not quite as eventful as the trip over.  However, Liat. . .the airline (?) that I flew with did NOT disappoint.  They were operating as normal.  Which meant of course that they were late. . . late. . . late.
I started by being about 30 minutes late leaving the island of St. Lucia.  When I arrived in Barbados, of course the flight was set to take off in about 30 minutes.  I of course knew it was not going to work quite that way.  Now we were supposed to take off at 8pm, so at about 7:55pm, they came on the intercom and said that we were of course delayed and that they would tell us more at 9:15pm.  Sure enough, at about 9:25pm, they came on and said it would be about an hour and we would take off.  (Of course the aircraft hadn’t even landed yet.)
At 10:45pm, they came on and said we would board sometime soon. . . and sure enough, about 11pm, we did start the boarding process.  Most of the people going to Guyana were in fact Guyanese. . . so once they announced the boarding would start. . .there was a mad rush to the door, and everything bottle necked.
Then, when they finally told us we could board, it was really funny to watch as all the Guyanese raced across the runway, and then pushed and shoved, and bottlenecked again at the stairway to the plane.
Once on board, we sat there until about 11:30pm and then finally took off.  This put us in at the airport in Guyana at about 1:30am.  After clearing customs and immigration, I was in the taxi and on the way home. . . only to arrive at about 2:40am.  This of course after the Police stopped our taxi and accused him of having “tint” on the back windshield (He did not, and after about 3 or 4 minutes. . .they sent us on our way.)
Once again, another eventful trip.
But you know, this one was different in one big way!
After all the trouble I had on Saturday morning, I fully expected that things to go about they way they did.  So. . . I wasn’t upset, frustrated, or even unhappy.  Things went pretty much as I expected them to.
You know. . .sometimes in life, the “surprises” we face on the road are unexpected.  Other times, we meet obstacles that we KNOW are in front of us, so we are prepared to some degree when those problems come our way.  But obstacles are obstacles. . . and we have to figure a way around them, regardless of our knowledge of their presence.  
Just like the pothole in the road on our way to work each day. . .some obstacles are always there, and we can figure ways around them.
In our journey through life, we need to remember that the main obstacle out there is Satan.  He is ALWAYS looking to derail us, to throw us off our journey, or to just plain destroy us.  In fact, Peter warned us of this in I Peter 5:8-9. . .” Be Self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Peter first warns us that Satan is like a Lion!  He is on the prowl, he is out there, and he is LOOKING FOR YOU!
Peter warns us as well to be alert, and in control of ourselves because Satan is looking to get you.  Not just to hurt you, but to devour you!  But we are warned of this, and told two things. . . .we must resist, and we must remember we are not alone.
This battle we have with Satan on our journey is not just our individual battle. . . but our COLLECTIVE battle.  ALL of us are involved in this battle, and must stand firm!  Satan likes for us to think that we are all alone in this struggle.  He knows that if we think we are alone, that we will try to deal with it alone, and it is easier for him to “pick us off”.  We need to remember that ALL of us struggle with Satan, and that struggle is sure.  We are NOT alone!  No matter how it feels at the time, our struggle is not unique.  Satan is trying to devour ALL of us!
Furthermore, I have seen many Christians who were utterly surprised with Satan’s attacks.  But we shouldn’t be.  We should expect him to come after us and we should expect him to try his best to cause us to lose our faith.  When we know the Lion is out there, we can be watchful. . . and ready for his attack.
I fully expected Liat to do nothing different than every time I have flown with them. . .and they did not disappoint me.  I was prepared for the delay, so when it happened. . . I wasn’t surprised.
We also need to fully expect Satan to come after us.  We should expect him to do his dead level best to shipwreck our faith.  And by knowing that, he does NOT catch us off guard.  Satan is an obstacle on the road that we KNOW will be there.  So be prepared for him, and don’t let him catch you off guard!
Be Watchful!  Be Prepared!  And don’t let him shipwreck YOUR faith!
See you on the Road!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crashes, Delays, and Tropical Storms!

This summer has been very busy.  We have had teams come and go since early June, and for a month, I have had not only a hotel full of people, but also a HOUSE full of people.  And it isn’t over yet.
Several months ago, I realized that things were going to be hectic, so I planned a little trip out of Guyana to give me some down time.  I decided to visit St. Lucia, and stay at a resort that I had visited about 10 years ago.  I knew I would only have a small window. . . so I set up a time to come to St. Lucia that would allow me four nights here to just relax.
It has not been the trip that I thought it would be.
When I arrived at the airport in Guyana at 3:30am on Saturday morning, I was surprised to see that no passengers were being allowed into the airport.  There were about 6 or 7 flights that were scheduled to leave between 5:30am and 8am. . .so there were literally HUNDREDS of people who were milling around outside.
The overhead announcement said that the airport was closed.  That is basically all they said, so I started asking around if anyone knew what had happened.
As it turned out. . . there had been a mishap on the runway about 2 hours before I arrived at the airport.  A Caribbean Airlines 737 had overshot the runway.  I started asking around to people I knew at the airport, and there were some people who were injured. . . but no one seriously, and there had been no deaths.
As time went by, we began to find out that it just wasn’t a case of overshooting the runway.  The plane had landed hard at about the mid point of the runway, then skidded off the runway, through a fence, and toward a 200 foot ravine.  Then. . the plane broke in two!  It suddenly looked like the airport would closed for a long while.

There has never been a large aircraft crash in Guyana. . . so equipment, trained personnel, and other emergency infrastructure simply are not in place.
Then. .  flights started being cancelled at an alarming rate.  My flight was delayed, but not cancelled.  The aircraft I was going to be flying on. . . a Turbo Prop aircraft. . . was already on the ground, and the airline people seemed to think it was going to be allowed to leave at a later hour.
Originally, my flight to St. Lucia was going to have me depart Guyana at 5:30am, and land in Barbados at 7:30am.  Then. . . at 7:50am, I would board a plane in Barbados to go on to St. Lucia, arriving there at 8:30am.  I was really looking forward to a full day of just relaxing and not having to worry about anything.

Now, as I was standing outside the departures area, there were hundreds of Guyanese. . . pushing, shoving, and crowding all around.  It was total and utter chaos in all directions.  Hours of this kind of shoving were really taking their toll.  I was hot, tired, frustrated, and grumpy to say the least.
Finally, my flight left Guyana at 7:30am, and landed in Barbados at 9:30am.  Of course, I had missed my flight to St. Lucia, but the people in Guyana told me they would put me on the 1pm flight, arriving in St. Lucia at about 1:30pm.
I called the Hotel in St. Lucia and told them that I was delayed.  They had arranged for transportation from the airport to the Hotel, and they informed him that I would be arriving late.
At 1pm, LIAT  (the airline I was flying on. . . for the last time I might add), announced that there was some sort of problem with the aircraft and there would be a delay. . .and they would inform those of us waiting in one hour. . . . 
This went on for SEVERAL HOURS!  Finally ending with the passengers boarding the plane at 6:40pm.
Finally at about 7pm, we took off, and landed in St. Lucia at about 7:30pm.  Although I was only 11 hours late in arriving. . . I was certainly glad to finally be here.
I arrived at the Hotel at about 8:15pm, and by about 9:15pm. . .was finally in my room.  Starving, tired, and glad to be here.
The Hotel was EXTREMELY sympathetic of the day I had, so they upgraded me to a WONDERFUL Villa, high on a hillside, overlooking the ocean on the west side of the island.  I was looking forward to seeing some famous Caribbean sunsets from my veranda!
Then. . . enter Tropical Storm Emily. . .  LOL   That’s right, Emily parked to the east of us, and started across the island on Sunday afternoon. . . so rain, rain, and more rain.  Followed by high winds, flash flooding, and lightning all around.

Then. . . last night (Monday) it got even worse. . . .   The rains intensified, and my Villa started leaking in crazy places.  Water just appeared in several places. . . in the middle of the floor. . . with no explanation of where it was come from.  
Now, here I am on Tuesday. . . it has been raining all day. . . and I still haven’t seen a Caribbean Sunset. . . .
Oh well. . . I wanted a change of pace, and something to take my mind off of Guyana. . . and it looks like I got my wish.
If you have ever seen the movie “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”, I sort of feel like that is what I am going through at this point.
But you know what. . . I still have a wonderful view.  The Hotel staff has been MARVELOUS, and I have gotten to rest, relax, and unwind. . . in spite of all that has been going on.
Lots of times, we get all upset about the things that are going on around us (and I certainly was upset in Barbados while sitting there for 9 hours in a small, hot, uncomfortable terminal.
But the truth is. . .I have a story now to tell of Plane crashes, delays, and tropical storms that I will enjoy telling for years to come!
Life on the road is often filled with interesting and amusing turns.  Things simply do not happen as you plan for them to.
The question is. . . when all is coming apart around you. . .do you come apart too?
I am reminded of the day Jesus had in Jerusalem many years ago, when they came and arrested Him in the Garden.  He watched is Disciples flee, He was abused by His own people, and by the Romans, He was lead from one “kangaroo court” to another, and ultimately He was crucified with common thieves.
And yet through all of that. . .He didn’t become angry, upset, or defensive.  Why?  Because He knew God had a purpose for Him.  And guess what?  God has a purpose for us too!
I don’t know what purpose is served with all the events of this week. . .but I know that GOD is in control, and He has a purpose for everything!
Romans 8:28 says it best; “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.NIV
God does work things for good. . .even when things around you are crashing, delayed, and pummeled with storms.
Look for Him. .  .He is there!
See you on the Road,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Awesome God!

This story happened about four years ago in Guyana.  Colleen and I were 
shopping in Georgetown and taking care of our business.

As we were coming out of one of the stores in Georgetown, a man walking by asked me for some money.  I told him that I didn't have anything to give him and he walked on.

We went and got in our car and Colleen turned to me and said, "Look at that!"  I turned and looked out my window, and there was the same man about half a block away and he was balancing on a post about three feet high.  There was barely enough room for his feet on the top of this post, but he balanced there and was moving about and saying something.

Then, I realized what he was saying.

Over on the side of the road, a vendor was playing a Tape or CD and the Contemporary Christian song "Our God is an Awesome God" was playing.  The man on the post was singing along with the song at the top of his voice.  He was waving his arms, he was doing a Cross, he was bringing his hands together in prayer, all while singing at the top of his lungs and balancing on this post in the middle of the road.

I was amazed!

I got out of my car and walked over to him and handed him a small amount of money.  He said "Thank you" and I said to him "NO. . . . Thank you!"

What a sermon he preached to me!  To be willing to stand in the middle of the street and proclaim at the top of his lungs that his God is an Awesome God!  He did it without shame, without being embarassed, or without expectation for reward.
And I was moved.  I was embarassed.  I was Ashamed.  And I was glad I got to see this!

I hope you see something like that on the road today.  I hope God speaks to you.  If he does. . . I hope you hear.  He really is Awesome you know.

See you on the Road!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Ride of Faith. . .

Over this past weekend, we were really busy here in Guyana.  When we have teams here, we are ALWAYS busy.  But it is a good kind of busy.

As the team begins to wind down in their activities of the week, we really have a lot to do.  The first part is bringing in all the supplies the team has used over the last week, making sure everything is okay and in good repair, and getting the team ready to leave.  The leaving part is FULL of details.

First off, we have to make sure their tickets are reconfirmed.  Here, if you don't reconfirm your ticket, the airline can give your seat away.  So we get that done.  Then, we go out to the airport and pre board the group.  The airline has been doing this for years for us, and it really helps us and them too.  We get their boarding passes for the next day, and that way we KNOW they are on the aircraft.  It is good for the airline, because it allows them to pre board a large segment of the aircraft, and makes check in the next day easier for them too.

The bad side for us, is it requires TWO trips to the airport in an 18 hour period.  And the airport trip is one hour each way.  It is only about 25 miles one way. . .but the trip is difficult in every way.  It is a two lane road, that is one of the major roads in the country.  And EVERYTHING shares that road.  Cars, Trucks, Busses, Farm Equipment, Horse carts, Donkey carts, cows, horses, goats, pigs, . . . . EVERYTHING.

Furthermore, it is a bumpy ride full of potholes, and other surprises.  To say the least, it is a ride that is not for the faint of heart.

This past weekend, on my second round trip there. . . I was exhausted.  Lucky for me, Bob was driving.  This meant that I didn't pay a lot of attention to the trip, and in fact. . . I just laid back and took a nap.  Now that was really a nap of faith, due to the conditions of the road. . . but I have great faith in Bob's driving ability.  In fact, I slept like a baby ( as much as you can in a car hurling down a bumpy road ).

It made me think about the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father.  You see, many times we try to "help" him drive down the bumpy road in front of us.  We worry, we fret, we get all concerned. . . but HE is the one that is driving.  Why do we forget that?

I was reading a passage today, and this really leapt out at me.  Romans 5:1-2 says; " Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."


We put our faith in Him to drive us through the rough spots, and as a result, we have peace and grace.  And this gives us every reason to rejoice!  Because of the hope we have in God's glory.

I had faith in Bob as a driver, and so. . .I had peace.  And Paul reminds us in Romans 5, that when we have faith in God. . . we have peace.  Wonderful, refreshing, absolute peace.

Lot's of times, we lack peace...and grace in our lives.  I am convinced that the reason for that is that we don't have faith in the one who is driving us on the road of life.

We lack joy in our lives because we don't have faith.  We lack peace in our lives because we don't have faith.  We lack grace in our lives. . . because we don't have faith.

We put faith in Bus Drivers, Airline Pilots, other drivers on the road, our Doctor's, Lawyers, and even our Preachers. . . but we don't often afford that same faith to the one who deserves it the most.

How is the Joy / Grace / Peace / and Hope factor in your life?  If you find it lacking, perhaps you need to look and see who is driving.  Sometimes, we try to drive ourselves, or we trust in others to drive us on the road of life. . . when God is waiting on us to let him drive.

He is worthy of our Faith.  He is capable of handling our Faith in Him.  And He is waiting for us to give it to Him.  And He is waiting, so he can shower us with the blessing of His Peace, His Grace, His Joy, and His Hope.

Turn loose of the steering wheel.  Let him drive you through the road of life!  And put your Faith in Him.

Peace awaits. . . and so much more!

See you on the Road!


Friday, June 17, 2011

That Little Red Car

I mentioned my car that I owned back in the 1970’s in a recent article.  That was the first  car that I went to the lot and bought.  It was a 1973 Ford Pinto.  It had a red paint job with a white vinyl roof and black dash and carpet, with white bucket seats!

Not MY Car, but one a LOT like it!

I loved that car.  It was lots of fun to drive, and thanks to my Uncle. . . it was a real head turner.
When I graduated from High School, just a few weeks later, I headed off to work with Missionaries in Africa.  Before I left, I dropped off my car with my Uncle who taught at a Trade School in Body Mechanics.  I had him put a “Metal Flake” red paint job, and top it off with a thick lacquer coat.  (He put 17 coats of lacquer on that car, and it looked amazing!)
People couldn’t help touching that car.  The red metal flake was about the size of glitter, so that car sparkled when the sun hit it!
I had all sorts of chrome trim on the car, and even under the hood.  I had really “pimped my ride” long before that term became a TV show.  HA
At any rate, I truly loved that car.  It was fun to drive, and a joy to have people look at it.
Then. . . one day, I was driving home and was stopped to make a left hand turn when I looked up in my rear view and saw a Plymouth Fury bearing down on me at a high rate of speed.  I didn’t have time to do anything up HOLD ON! ! ! 
BAM! ! ! ! !
He hit me and promptly knocked me about 30 yards down the road.
Now bear in mind, this is the FORD PINTO!  A car FAMOUS for igniting in a rear collision!  
The gas tank DID rupture, but no fire!   (Thank you SO MUCH LORD!)
And in one fell swoop. . . my car was destroyed.  :-(
Needless to say, that was a major disappointment.
But there was a silver lining!  The insurance settlement I got went right to the bank. . . and several months later, when Colleen and I got married, that insurance money paid for our wedding and honeymoon.
Romans 8:28 says;
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I have to tell you, that on the day the car was wrecked, I was truly depressed.  Now don’t get me wrong, I was GLAD I was alive and unhurt, but I was sad to see my “first car” destroyed.
It wasn’t until later that I realized that losing that car played a big part in my wedding, and my sweet wife.  I’d trade EVERY car for the sweet wife that God has blessed me with!
And the point is, that even though I was sad at first. . . God worked it for good.  (Incidently, when we got married, SHE had an even BETTER CAR!  A 1972 Cutlass!  And I wish we still had that car!  It was a slick car too!)
That is the promise of Romans 8:28.  Whatever happens to us, God can and will work it for Good. . . and for His purpose.
As I look back on my life, I see lots of times where things didn’t go as I planned.  I see events that at the time seemed bad. . .only to find out later that was the best possible thing that could happen!  God did it back in the 1970’s, and he is STILL DOING IT TODAY!
He is doing it in your life too!  You just may be missing it.  Don’t let that happen.  When things don’t go right, look around and see God’s hand working.  You will probably be surprised at what he does.
That is good to remember on our journey!
See you on the road!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Football Game. . .

Way back in the mid 1970's, I was in Bible School, and busily preparing myself for the work that I do even till today.  Shortly after starting school, I had to make a trip to Oklahoma to pick up a car that my uncle had painted for me.

Once the car was picked up, I set off for McCrory Arkansas, where I had an appointment to speak at a church on Friday night, and again on Sunday morning.  On the way to this appointment, my vehicle broke down and I ended up being towed into Ozark Arkansas.  I was taken to the Ford Dealer, where they thought they had fixed the car, and sent me on my way.  As dark approached, I headed out of town. . . .only to break down again about 15 miles away.

I called the same wrecker to come and get me, and he took me back to town. . .but the Ford Dealer was closed for the night.  So, I ended up staying at the Ozark Motel.  Now remember, this was in the mid 70's, in a small town motel.  The room had a bed and bathroom, a TV and dresser, and a small table and chair.  And it cost me the grand sum of $8.00 for the night!

Across the parking lot was a Tastee Freeze Drive In, so I walked over there, got me some supper, and went back to my room.

I was excited because it was Thursday night, and the Dallas Cowboys were playing a game that night on Thursday night Football.  I had my night all planned out.  I was going to go back to my room with my Burger from the drive in, and sprawl out on the bed and watch my Cowboys, led by Roger Staubach, win another game.  (Sorry, but I have ALWAYS been a Cowboys fan. . . thick or thin. . . LOL)

I got back to my room. . . turned on the TV. . . and went over to the bed.  I drug the table over by the bed and was relaxing and settling in.  Just about to take a bite of my burger, I realized the TV hadn't come on yet.  (Remember, this was back in the day when you turned on the TV, and waited for it to warm up.)

I waited a moment or two more, and then went over to the TV and did what you ALWAYS did during that era. . . I banged on the side of the TV.  NOTHING!  Now, I was in a panic!  My game was about to start and I was going to miss the kick off.  "How could the Hotel have a room where the TV didn't work?  After all. . . I paid 8 bucks for this room, and it should have a working TV for that price!"

I called the front desk. . . No answer!  I hit the TV again!  No result!  I turned it on and off several times. . .STILL NOTHING!   ARRRGGGGHHHHHHHH! ! ! ! !

I finally decided that I had to do something, so I ran up to the office, and found the Manager.  I told him my TV wasn't working and could I PLEASE get another room or another TV.  He was very nice and friendly and told me he would take care of it.

I went back to my room and waited.  A few moments later, he showed up with another TV.  He walked in, looked around a moment, and said. . . "I think I found the problem Sir."  And with that, he reached down and PLUGGED THE TV INTO THE WALL OUTLET!  The TV instantly sprang to life (Just in time for the Kick off!).

At this point, I felt like I was six inches tall!  I apologized to the man, who laughed and smirked, and left with a chuckle.

I have never forgotten that experience.

First off, that I got so upset and out of sorts over a game on TV.

And Secondly, because the problem was so simple.  The TV just needed to be plugged into the power!

Isn't that the way things are in our lives sometimes?  We wonder why our life isn't working.  We become frustrated when things don't go our way.  We catch ourselves yelling at the top of our voices. . ."WHY! ! ! ? ? ? "

And yet, many times we are simply not plugged into the Power source.  What is that Power source you ask?

The only place we receive power, the only place we can turn to end the frustration and lack of things working out. . . is God!  He is our Power Source!

Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,"

Do you get that?  HE can cause us to go beyond our wildest imagination. . . according to HIS Power that is at work within us!  God is the Power Source!  And He can do GREAT things with us. . . if we are plugged in.

When I look back on my life at the times I have messed things up the most, it is most often due to the fact that I am not plugged into His power.  Instead, I am trying to do things according to MY POWER.  (And I don't even have the "power" to plug in a Television Set!)

When our journey brings us to times when things aren't working right. . . perhaps before we get all excited and try to fix it ourselves, or try to get others to fix it for us, we should see if we are plugged into the TRUE and ONLY power source.

God's power will sustain us!  God's power will energize us!  God's power will see us through!

So don't get excited when things go wrong on your journey.  Just make sure you are plugged in!

See you on the Road!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Traveling out of your Comfort Zone

One of the things that is MOST appealing to me about travel, is the fact that when you go somewhere other than home. . .then you experience new and different things.  That is sort of the point of traveling.  In fact, if you want things to ALWAYS be the same way. . .then one would just stay home.

Back in March, I entered an article here in my blog about the flooding.  In fact, the title was "Water, Water, Everywhere. . . " .  It explained why we have the flooding that we have here in Guyana.

Right now, in our house, we are suffering from the OPPOSITE of that.  We are experiencing a LACK of water.  In order to explain why, I have to tell you how a house gets "running water" here in Guyana in the first place.  It truly is amazing.

The Guyana Water Authority is the local water company.  It is owned and operated by the Government of Guyana, and supplies water to the Greater Georgetown area.  The problem is, they don't have any really water tanks, like we see in the USA that supply the necessary pressure needed to supply water to homes and businesses in our communities.

That fact, coupled with the fact that water pipes are often broken here so people can get water, and you end up with two things. . . 1.) No real water pressure, and 2.) water that is contaminated and therefore not drinkable.  No home, apartment, or hotel that we have lived or stayed in here in Guyana has water that you could or would drink out of the tap.  In many cases, the water is a nice brown color, and you use it only for washing and bathing.

The bottled water industry in Guyana is BIG and necessary.  Without it, Typhoid and other water borne illnesses would be common place.

Now because of the low water pressure, the water company turns off the water in various areas for large portions of the day.  Here at our house, we have water pressure from the "City tap" about 4 to 6 hours a day.  During that time, we fill two large 800 Gallon tanks that are on the ground.  That water is then pumped to tanks on the second level, and on the roof level, where we can have pressure from there.  We also have our gutter system on the house set up so it drains into the tanks, and fills them with rain water when we don't have water coming from the city water supply.

We also have a small pressure tank, that gives us good pressure throughout the house, even on the second floor.  But it all works only if we have water in the tanks, and if our pump is working properly.

Once the water reached the pump system, it is pumped through a filtration system, that makes it as pure as the water you have in your house.  So for the first time ever, here in Guyana, we can drink the water from the tap.  I have to tell you, that amazes me more than anything else here.  Actually being able to drink the tap water!  (Isn't it amazing what you get excited about when you are out of your comfort zone?  HA)

Yesterday afternoon, our pump went out.  And it took a good 24 hours to get that replaced, and installed.  Then, tonight, we had a pipe break leaving the pump, and all the water drained out of the overhead tanks.  So we are back to no water on the second floor, where all our bedrooms are and most of our bathrooms are, and VERY little water pressure downstairs.

Oh the fun of travel!

But the truth is, that is almost ALWAYS the way things are when we travel out of our comfort zone.  If it isn't the water, then the flight is delayed, or the bags don't arrive, or the Air Conditioning isn't working, or the electricity goes off, or on and on and on.  When we are outside of the warm and comfortable comfort zone we have created for ourselves, then anything can happen.  And it usually does.

Now when those things happen that our out of our control, we have several choices.
1.  We can complain, and tell everyone around us about how uncomfortable we are, and how much we hate our present condition.
2.  We can quickly make plans to leave, and run back to our comfort zone.
3.  We can make the most of the situation, and strive to enjoy the "adventure" that is playing out before us.

Now I would love to tell you that I always pick Number 3, but like many of us, there are times when I complain, and there are times when I just quit and go home.  However, the rich memories that I have, and some of the best stories that I have to tell, are when things didn't go well, and I just stayed and lived through the situation.

Jesus did that you know.  He left His comfort zone. . . the very throne room of God. . . and came down here to earth to live as we do.   He experienced the same disappointments, the same set backs, the same problems that we do every day.  And He could have complained. . . or gone home. . . but He didn't.  He stuck around, toughed it out, and did the job He came to do.  And we are still talking about it today, some 2,000 years later.

Philippians 2 says it best. . .

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
   did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
   by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
   being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
   he humbled himself
   by becoming obedient to death—
      even death on a cross!
 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
   and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
   to the glory of God the Father.

Do you get that?  Jesus, who was GOD. . . humbled himself and became a servant!  A servant that was obedient even to the point of a horrible, painful death on the cross.  He did this because He had left His comfort zone, and came here to do a job.  And not just a normal job. . . but a job motivated out of love. . . for us.

And even when the job became difficult, and unpleasant. . . He still did it.

And God exalted Him!

I believe this passage teaches that when we tough things out, and do what God has called us to do. . . even when it is outside of our comfort zone. . .that He will exalt us too!  Why do I say that?  Because of the challenge at the start of the passage.  Our mindset is to be the same as the mindset of Jesus!

So. . . when God calls you out of your comfort zone, remember that you are in good company.  Jesus walked that road before us!  He toughed it out, and finished the journey.  And God exalted Him for it.

He exalts us too when we overcome the obstacles on the road!  Those roadblock and broken water pipes that Satan throws in our way. . . He exalts us above them.

Make your mindset the same as that of Jesus!  Overcome the attacks on your comfort zone!  And God will exalt you too!

See you on the Road!