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!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Traveling again. . . .

Since the first of the year, I have traveled over 12,000 miles by airplane, and over 5,000 miles by car.  That is a LOT of travel time!  Of course, if you are writing a blog titled "Mile Markers along the Way" you would expect that travel would be involved, and in my life, it certainly is.

The last trip was my flight back to Guyana.  When I last contributed to this blog, I was in Guyana dealing with flooding.  Since that time, I have been back to the states, traveled back and forth to Florida twice.  Spent time in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and of course. . . at home in Arkansas.  I've conducted a wedding, been there at the birth of my new Grand Daughter, went with my son to his first Football meeting at Junior High, and visited with lots and lots of old friends along the way.

This trip to Guyana has been different in so many ways. . . .

Traveling down, I got "upgraded" at JFK by the ticket agent, and ended up flying First Class all the way to Guyana.  What an AMAZING treat!  I have been upgraded a couple of times before, but usually on a flight of only an hour or so.  An hour of First class flying is just enough to let you know that you like it, but not enough time to really settle in and enjoy the experience.

This time though, I sat there for six hours in a chair as comfortable as my recliner in my "Man Cave" at home.  I kicked off my shoes, laid back with a real pillow and blanket, and relished every single moment.

And the Breakfast!  Let me just say that it was the best airline food I have EVER had.  WOW!

What a GREAT way to start the trip.

However, due to the new arrival of our Grand Daughter, and Isaiah having Football practice all summer long, Colleen and Isaiah are not coming down with me.  Being in Guyana for three months without my family is not exactly what I would prefer.  In fact, it is NOT at all what I prefer.  But sometimes, things don't exactly go the way you prefer do they?

So here I am, in Guyana, getting ready for the summer activity, and gearing up for lots and lots of work.  And without my family here to help me, keep me balanced, and get me through the rough spots.

Now I'm not starting a "Pity Parade" or even asking you to start one for me.  The truth is, I have known this was the way it was going to play out for a while.  When our Daughter told us she was pregnant, and I figured out the general timeline of delivery, I knew there was going to be NO WAY that my wife was going to leave that Grand Baby. . . nor did I even want her to.

Furthermore, I knew that Isaiah was VERY motivated and interested in playing football through school, and with that was going to come summer practice.

So I knew this was coming, and particularly I knew it was coming THIS YEAR!

But you know, sometimes we know the road ahead is going to be rough and difficult.  Sometimes we are aware of the potholes and heavy traffic we are going to face, and we think "Not a problem. . .I can handle it."  And the truth is. . . most times we can.  But knowing about it in advance and getting mentally prepared is totally different than dealing with is up close and personal.

If you are like me, and even though you thought you were prepared, you suddenly find yourself up close and personal with a difficult road. . . then remember you are NOT alone!

First off, there are LOT'S of us who either have been there, or are currently there!  Lot's of times on that Lonely and Difficult road, we think we are the only ones there. . . but we're not.  Just look around.  You are likely to find others who are on the same roadway with you. . . and dealing with exactly the same thing.  And they can help you along the journey too.  But only if you let them help.  Don't be afraid to admit you are alone, and tired, and scared.

Furthermore, Jesus promised you that you would NEVER be alone. . . even on a lonely road!  His promise in Matthew 28 is "and lo, I am with you always. . .even to the end of the world."  I don't know the number of times that promise hasn't sustained me through the lonely stretches of highway. . . and it can sustain you too!

He will NEVER leave you alone on the roadway.

Remember that!  And you never know. . .you might just feel like you have had an "upgrade" too!

See you on the Road!