Archive | July 2009

STRESSIN’ THE STRESS TEST

Okay, I am going to sacrifice any semblance of dignity and self-respect and share a funny story with you about something that happened to me this week. Now to see the humor in this, you are going to have to picture it in your mind – and let me warn you, it’s not a pretty picture! It is a funny one, though – or at least I hope so, because if not, I’m confessing this on the worldwide Web for all the world to see for nothing! I can easily laugh at myself, but if everyone else is laughing, too, it had better be worth it!
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So on with the story… I had to go in for some tests this week and among them was a stress test for my heart. I wasn’t happy about it, and, in fact, it had hung over my head for weeks. I’d been through it before and knew what to expect. First, they inject some radioactive stuff into your vein so you glow in the dark. (Okay, I’m kidding about the glow-in-the-dark part. It is really so they can take pictures of your heart.) Then you have to lie perfectly still on a hard, narrow table for at least fifteen minutes while a camera circles your body and takes pictures of your heart in “resting mode.” After that comes the treadmill, and then more pictures once you’ve got the old ticker really pumping. There’s some waiting time involved and a couple other little things, and altogether it takes about four hours.
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First thing I notice is that there are four other women there for the same thing and they’re all in their seventies and eighties. I’m fifty-seven. At this point I am feeling so o-o-o-old. They call me first and I enter the inner sanctum. “Lie down on the table, put your hands over your head, and we’re going to swaddle you so you can’t move. Okay, ready? We’re starting right now! You must lie still and oh, by the way — don’t even take a deep breath!” The camera starts moving, and of course, the first thing I want to do, the first thing I simply must do, is take a deep breath! I manage to restrain myself, but it is on my mind the whole time. Am I breathing too deeply? Should I breathe at all? Don’t think I can hold my breath for fifteen minutes so I concentrate on short little shallow breaths and then worry about hyper-ventilating. I finally quit worrying about how I am breathing because now I have a worse problem. My ear is tickling. Then my nose itches. There’s a spot on my forehead that itches, too and my foot is going to sleep. It’s driving me crazy, but of course, I dare not move so I suffer through the last eternal five minutes. Finally a timer goes off and I think it’s got to be over, but what?! The technician is chatting on the phone. Get off the phone, lady, and get me out of here!
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I finally stagger out to the waiting room and all four old ladies look at me expectantly and in unison say, “Well?” I just laugh and start telling them about the breathing and tickles and itches. Before I know it, they are calling me back for the dreaded treadmill portion of the test. This is what I’ve really worried about, and for weeks I’d been telling myself, Cindy, you’d better get on the treadmill here at home and get in shape before that stress test! But of course, in my typical procrastinator fashion, I hadn’t, and day after day I’d sat with the computer on my lap. Now here I was, about to face the consequences! They hook me up to a bunch of electrodes, and take my blood pressure, and the first thing I see is that my blood pressure is already high and the test hasn’t even begun yet! White coat syndrome, I’m sure, because it’s been okay normally.
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The treadmill starts. It begins at a fairly easy pace, but it’s programmed to ramp up to a higher speed and sharper incline every three minutes. “Make sure you give us a one minute warning before you quit,” they emphasize, “so that we can give you another dose of this nuclear drug (can’t remember what it’s called) before you stop.” Okay, so far so good. The first three minutes aren’t too bad. Then it shifts into gear. I’m seriously hiking now at a really brisk clip. I might have been okay, except that one of the technicians wants to take my blood pressure again and she’s got me hanging on by one hand while she fumbles around trying to turn the little screw on the blood pressure cuff. It’s turned too tightly and they finally have to go in search of a man to get it turned. In the meantime the other technician is on my other side trying to undo the tape on the IV in the hand that is desperately clinging to the bar on the treadmill. I am so distracted by all this and with just trying to keep up with that doggone conveyor belt, that I suddenly realize the next speed-up is about to begin and it is going to have me running and I know I can’t do that for even one more minute!
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“Time! Time!” I call out in panic.
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“I need 83 more seconds!” the doctor says.
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“I’ll try,” I gasp. Just then the treadmill speeds up. I am running for my life. The technician finally gets the blood pressure she wants and mercifully I can grab the bar with both hands, but I know I am on the verge of disaster.
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“Thirty more seconds!”
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“I can’t! I can’t!” That is hard for me to admit out loud. I seldom back down from a challenge but I know – I can’t!
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“You have to!” the doctor says. “Someone get behind her and push!”
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So, picture this — for the next thirty seconds I am in the humiliating position of having the petite technician standing behind the treadmill with her hands on my derrière, giving me the push I need! It actually helps, and somehow I survive the test. My pride may be in tatters, but my sense of humor is still intact because all day long I burst into laughter whenever that mental picture pops into my mind.
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Sometimes all we need is a little push. I don’t know if it is my stubborn, pioneer-stock determination or my sinful self-pride that won’t allow me to appear foolish or old or less-than-perfect (which, of course, I am but I don’t want other people to know that!), but it is really difficult for me to confess that I cannot do something on my own or to ask for help. Like the two-year-old who insists, “No! I do it!” I’ll grit my teeth and dig in my heels and struggle on. This can be a problem when your husband is a problem-solver like mine is. There are times when I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying, “No! I want to figure it out on my own! I can do it myself!”
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There comes a time, though, when we all come to the end of ourselves and we have to admit we can’t. In this case I had reached my physical limitations, but sometimes we’ve reached the end of our rope emotionally or spiritually and we just have to confess I need help. My pride caused me to feel humiliated that I needed that little extra push, and I would have loved to say, “No, no! I’ll do it!” but in all honesty, I was actually grateful and pleasantly surprised that it made all the difference between success and failure.
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We do not walk this journey of life alone. God, in His great wisdom and love, has given us help along the way. From the very beginning He saw that we needed help, and He provided it. Genesis 2:18 says, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” (NLT) That first helper was a spouse, but then came parents, siblings, other family, and friends. Parents are to provide instruction, teaching, and encouragement. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7) Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 27:9 encourages us with “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.”
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Finally, Christ established the Church, and among the great blessings of that fellowship are our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are admonished over and over in the New Testament to help one another physically, emotionally and spiritually. Romans 12 tells us to “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love… Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” (vs. 10, 13, 15) Galatians 6 goes on to say, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (vs. 2, 9-10) Hebrews 10:24, 25 says “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works…” I Thessalonians 5: 11, 14 tells us to “comfort yourselves together, and edify one another…encourage the fainthearted, support the weak…”
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Most comforting of all, He promises us His help when we call upon Him! Philippians 4:13 reminds us that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” He offers strength, rest, and encouragement in Him. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31) “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) “…always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:58)
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Let’s face it – for some of us it is easier to be the pusher — the one who encourages and helps and, gives and uplifts. We don’t want to be the pushee, dependent on others and admitting our weaknesses. If the Lord sees that we need all this help and provides it for us, however, then we must see that we would be foolish to not acknowledge it ourselves, swallow our pride and accept it with grateful hearts. We must understand, also, that when we refuse help that is freely and lovingly offered, we are robbing someone else of the blessing of giving and ministering. There is an old saying, No man is an island. We need one another to give and receive that extra little push from time to time.
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I’ve been thinking of that treadmill downstairs. I really do need to get back on and get in better shape for my trip to Ecuador in less than four months. The high altitude of the Andes Mountains, walking through the Inca ruins and out in the countryside – I need to get in shape! I’ll definitely get on the treadmill again – tomorrow!
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THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS

Have you ever gone through a period of time when everything seemed to be going so well, when progress was being made or you had experienced some great success, and you were excited over the all the good things that were coming your way—and you thought to yourself, “Oh-oh! We’re in for it now!” You’re holding your breath, just waiting for that other shoe to drop.
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That has happened often in our lives in the spiritual realm. We can be sure when we are seeing fruit for our labor, and victories are being won for the Lord, that Satan is not going to sit meekly on the sidelines and let it go without trying to shoot us down. The Bible tells us that we are in a spiritual battle and …we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
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This week we’ve seen several examples of that in our family, although I’ll only mention one for now. We’ve been rejoicing that the work Fernando and Laurie are doing down in Cuenca is finally underway, and that already they are seeing souls being saved, lives being touched and a body of believers encouraged and excited and growing in the Lord. After months of struggling just to get their family settled and being assaulted by one delay, obstacle and problem after another, finally in this last month they have felt that they are accomplishing the work the Lord called them to do in Ecuador. I just said a few days ago to a couple of people when we were discussing their work, “Just watch. Satan isn’t happy about this. He’ll be throwing something else at them very soon!”
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Two days later we found out what it was going to be. They are going to have to move again—for the third time in less than a year. Since the owner of their house lives in the States, they’ve been dealing with his father, Señor Morocho. They came home the other day to find Señor Morocho on their doorstep with the news that his son is planning to sell the house, despite the fact that the Naranjos have a two year lease. Apparently contracts aren’t worth much more than the paper they’re written on down there. Oh, they could take him to court, but Señor Morocho is the one who would have to deal with it, and they’ve been trying to witness to him and don’t want to do anything that would turn him away—and it’s not his fault anyway.
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You can’t imagine how disheartening this was when they first heard it. The first move had been hard—moving a family of seven from the United States to Ecuador—emotionally and physically. The second move had been bizarre—being forced to move out of a brand new house because mold was growing out of the walls in every room. Now, after only eight months in a house which is perfect for the family as far as space is concerned, but in which they had had to invest a lot of time and money in order to make it habitable, they are faced with the prospects of having to start all over again. They had just finished a major repair job in which several of the cement walls throughout the house had to be opened in order to replace leaking pipes—and deal with mold again due to the leaky pipes. Laurie had said to the girls just a few days before, “At last, this house is finally beginning to feel like home, isn’t it, girls?” Now they, too, were upset at the thought of having to move again. And on top of everything, they will be forced to spend a huge amount of time and money and energy now on another move just when they need to be using all their resources on this new church work.
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A snippet of a verse came to me yesterday when I was thinking about this battle they are going through, and I looked it up to read the whole passage. The part of the verse I remembered was “the battle is not yours, but God’s.” To my surprise I found that it is from II Chronicles 20—the very passage Fernando sat down and read with the family that night when they heard this dismaying news. As I read this chapter, there were several things I drew from it that are so encouraging to realize and remember as we go through spiritual battles of our own. I’d like to share them with you:
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II Chronicles 20 gives an account of an alliance of nations (Moab, Ammon and the inhabitants of Mount Seir) marching to war against Judah and King Jehoshaphat. This army was “a great multitude,” we are told, and Jehoshaphat was afraid and called all of Judah together—men, women and even the little children—to fast and pray.
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First of all, they acknowledged God’s power and might. And [Jehoshaphat] said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? (vs 6)
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Secondly, they acknowledged what He had done for them in the past. Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? (vs 7)
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Third, they acknowledge that He is their protector. If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help. (vs 9)
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And finally, they acknowledge that they are helpless without Him. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. (vs 12)
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The Lord answered their prayers. First came His promise: Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (vs 15) Don’t worry! It’s not your battle, but Mine!
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Then came His instructions: Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you. (vs 17) What?! All they had to do was stand fast, be still and watch Him accomplish it?!
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Jehoshaphat and Judah did three things then before the battle had even begun. First they worshipped the Lord. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. (vs 18)
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Second, they went forth believing and trusting God. And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. (vs 20)
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Third, before the battle began, they praised the Lord! And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. (vs 21) It was while they were singing and praising God that He fought the battle for them, causing the alliance to turn on one another and destroy themselves. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. (vs 22)
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The results of this battle? Victory, of course, but also afterwards there were blessings far beyond what they could have dreamed. (…they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much. vs 25) There was thanksgiving. (…on the fourth day…they blessed the LORD. vs 26) There was rejoicing. (Then they returned…to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. vs 27-28) God’s name was glorified among the nations. (And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms… vs 29) There was peace and rest in the Lord. (So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about. vs 30)
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Did you see in each of these points what we can gather for ourselves when it comes to the battles we must face? We begin with prayer, acknowledging that God is our Protector and Defense and that He is great and mighty and powerful. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world! We recall in prayer what He has done for us in the past and confess that we not only don’t know what to do, but cannot do anything without Him anyway.
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God’s answer to our prayer is “Don’t be afraid! Don’t be dismayed! Don’t worry! Stand fast. Be still and know that I am God. Watch Me fight this battle for it is Mine, not yours!” When we are truly believing and trusting Him, we are free from worry and fear and free, then, to worship and praise Him. The result is victory, for who can stand against Him? And with the victory come blessing, rejoicing, thanksgiving, peace and glory to God!
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Prayer and faith are the key. As the old saying goes, Let go and let God… Be encouraged—we do not go through our battles alone. He marches before us, and in Him, victory is sure. Just stand back and watch Him do it!

WESTWARD (OOPS! I MEAN, NORTHWARD) HO!

As I write this, we are hurtling along I-65 at 70 miles an hour. A lot of pretty scenery is zipping past my window. Thick growths of trees and tall rock-faced walls line either side of the highway. When we first started out this morning, Spanish moss and kudzu clung to some of those trees. We are intrigued, especially by the kudzu, for some of the trees are so heavily covered that they almost look like alien beings from another planet. My favorites, though, are the crepe myrtle trees. Alabama has them everywhere and they are beautiful and fully in bloom.
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Farms dot the rolling hills—some of them large and well-kept, and others old and ramshackle with rusted out cars and broken-down equipment scattered across their yards. We see horses and cattle here and there, and have even viewed a few buffalo. We cross an occasional creek with tree-lined banks and drive over wide rolling rivers on great steel spans. It’s Sunday and as the morning has progressed, we see the parking lots of the churches we pass beginning to fill. Most are little country churches, but a few are large multi-million dollar edifices.
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It’s a bit overcast at the moment, and a haze blurs the views in the distance. The sun was beating down a while ago when we stopped for a quick break, though, and burned the back of my neck as I stood outside the car for a few minutes. Dozens of songbirds filled the air with their calls in that particular place, and the insects in the field next to the car were almost as loud.
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We’ve passed some unusual sights—four or five buzzards feasting on roadkill by the side of the highway; a huge missile on display at a rest area near Huntsville, AL; a burned out patch about a half-mile long where last weekend when we were headed in the other direction, we saw the grass and trees along the road fully ablaze.
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I’m noticing the scenery, and Bob is, too, but he’s also paying attention to the vehicles around him (good thing!) and every once and a while he’ll say things like, “There’s a car from Ontario, Canada” or “Look at the cathedral-style windows on that RV!” More often than not, though, he’s commenting on the reckless driving of someone around us, or a speeder or someone tailgating us. He gets aggravated, and I can’t say that I blame him.
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I always think of the pioneers who traveled across our country in wagons or on horseback when we make a trip like this. We resign ourselves to a long day in the car, or two if it is a longer journey, and like the little kids we used to be, can’t help wondering, Are we there yet? as we squirm in our air-conditioned seats and nibble our way across country to pass the time. Seventy miles an hour? Seven hundred and fifty miles or even a thousand, in a day? Leaving Montgomery before breakfast and arriving back in Hammond in time for supper? Could those pioneers have imagined such things in their wildest dreams?
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What boggles my mind is the fact that I can write this on my laptop as we speed down the highway, or I could watch a movie if I’d like. I can talk on the phone as we travel. Julie called a little while ago from her car as they were on their way to church, to my car as we were just about to cross the state line. Amazing! Why, I can even call Laurie in Ecuador if I want to from anywhere along the highway! Others who travel in grander scale than we do may even have all the comforts of home in their big RV’s—refrigerators, microwaves, TV’s, bathrooms, etc. We’ve come a long way since the pioneer days, but we’ve even come a long way in the last ten or fifteen years.
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The highway stretches like a smooth gray ribbon before us. No rutted trail through tall prairie grass for us to follow on this journey. If we want to stop for a quick bite to eat we pull off and go through a drive-thru, or if time were not a consideration, we could even go in to a nice soft booth and have someone wait on us and bring us a full, piping hot meal. No need to hunt for a rabbit and build a campfire to cook it. A cool drink is at our finger tips in the cooler beside me. Air conditioning, reclining seats, and stereo make the trip comfortable and pleasant. And if our trip is not over at the end of the day, we can find a clean bed and a shower at the next exit.
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Would you say we’re a little spoiled? Compared to how those pioneers traveled, I’d say we certainly have it easier, but I’m not sure if I would say that we’re spoiled. All this modern technology is available to us and a result of man using the intellect and resources that God gave us. When used properly it is fine. There’s nothing wrong with having a pleasant and comfortable trip; with being able to get from Point A to Point B rapidly; with being able to talk with our loved ones on the other side of the country or the world instantly.
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We are spoiled, however, when we cannot leave that comfort zone, or give up our little luxuries and technologies when asked to do so, or for the benefit of someone else. Laurie and Fernando live in a somewhat modern city in Ecuador and, although standards are not up to what you would expect here in the USA, they enjoy many of the conveniences we have here. I often think, though, of missionaries who have to travel by boat down the Amazon River, or fly into remote areas, or who live much like the people they are ministering to in some jungle or desert location. They have sacrificed much to serve the Lord where He led them.
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We’re not all called to be missionaries in remote areas, however. We live in a land of plenty—plenty of the necessities and plenty of the luxuries, as well. We’ve come to expect those things; in fact, we take them for granted. I sometimes feel guilty about how much we have and how easy our lives are, compared to what most of the rest of the world experiences.
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We don’t need to feel guilty about the life God has given us, though. It is by His grace that He has put us in the time and place we are in. It is by His grace that we have the homes and food and water, technologies and medical care, lifestyle and freedom that we have. It is by His grace that we have heard the Good News of the Gospel and that it is freely available here to anyone who will listen. For some reason the Lord has given us more, but we must remember that He tells us in His Word “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” (Luke 12:48)
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Compared to those who have gone before us, compared to billions around the world today, our journey through life here on earth is smooth and comfortable. Oh, sure, there are bumps and ruts and roadblocks, twists and turns and detours for all of us along the way, but we have it a lot easier than most. We need to pray that God will open our eyes to how we can use what He has given us for His glory. We should not feel guilty, but grateful to Him, and be willing to share His love and the things He has given us with others. Let us not be so spoiled by what we have that we cannot sacrifice if we are called upon to do so. Our destination is just up the road. Enjoy the journey along the way, but make it count for eternity, too!

TRAVELING MERCIES

We’re on the road today — going home from a great week spent at David and Julie’s house in Alabama. I won’t be able to post my blog until I get home. Hopefully I’ll get it up by tomorrow morning, so please check back then, okay? In the meantime, would you please pray for us as we travel? Thanks! Love ya!

B IS FOR BIBLES

I am in Alabama this weekend enjoying a wonderful time with Julie’s family! We drove down Friday and after thirteen hours in the car, it was a thrill to finally pull into their long driveway and see them running across the yard to greet us! It is my first time to visit them in their new home, so it was exciting to see what the Lord has provided for them and how perfectly it fits them! They live out in the country where you can hear the cows mooing across the road and little critters appear now and then in their yard. This morning a fox trotted across their backyard carrying a squirrel in its mouth!

Their house is spacious with plenty of room for them now and later when their adoptions go through. The bedrooms are so huge I laughingly told Julie they could have ten kids and not be crowded in this house! (When I told my mom that, she said, “Bite your tongue! Don’t give them any ideas!”) They are on almost an acre and a half of land, too, so there is plenty of room for the kids to run and play outdoors. What a wonderful place to raise a family!

Yesterday was the Fourth of July and we had a great day together. David cooked hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill at lunch time, Julie made homemade meatball and cheese cannolis for supper (they’re really cannelonis, for those of you who know the difference, but we’ve always called them cannolis), and we had fresh strawberry pies and blueberry cheesecake for desserts later. I had brought new matching patriotic T-shirts for all the kids and Uncle Robbie and Grandpa (or Boppa as they call him), too. Then when it got dark, Julie gave them red, white and blue glow-in-the-dark sticks and we played hide-n-seek in the pitch black with them. The climax came when no one could find Boppa and they all got too spooked to look for him. “He’s going to jump out and scare us when we find him!” the kids declared, all huddled together as they moved in a little clump to keep searching. Grandma joined their huddle and sure, enough, when we finally found him, he jumped out and scared us, and we all screamed like little girls! That was fine for Hannah, since she is a little girl, but the rest of us embarrassed ourselves big-time!

We also celebrated Joshua’s birthday yesterday. It is actually later in the month, but he wanted to do his birthday when Boppa could be here, too. Uncle Robbie gave Joshua a triple Slip-N-Slide for his birthday, and when the birthday gifts were all opened, I pulled out an extra surprise—huge Super Soaker water guns for all the kids, and David and Boppa, too! What better way on a hot, hot, HOT muggy afternoon in Alabama to cool off than to get wet, wet, WET!

Bob pulled off a surprise of his own! Out he marched from the bedroom in his swimming trunks, white skinny legs and all! He’d thrown his trunks into his duffel bag just in case he decided to take a turn on the Slip-N-Slide! I don’t think anyone had more fun in that huge water fight or throwing himself down the length of the Slip-N-Slide than Boppa! I got a big kick out of watching my husband have so much fun. And oh, the wonderful memories that were made yesterday! The kids will always remember this Fourth of July long after Bob and I are gone!

They are really sweet kids. Benjamin is eleven now, Joshua is about to turn nine and Hannah is five. They are so loving, and very well-behaved children, and really a joy to be around. Each one of them has a kind, compassionate heart and they are so good with Uncle Robbie. He’s all excited to be with them, too! Benjamin is his special buddy. Joshua and Hannah had special toys picked out to give to him when we got here—toys that they knew he could do on his own. They all play with him and aren’t afraid to get hugged a little too hard, have their hand squished, or wipe his drooly chin.

They are especially sensitive to the things of the Lord, too. They read their Bibles every day and really know God’s Word. It astounds me sometimes, the thoughtful, mature things that come out of their mouths about spiritual things. Julie and David have instilled in them a love for missions, as well. They get excited about missionaries who come to their church, and they jump right in trying to learn as much about their ministries and fields as they can.

Julie told me about an incident that happened last week when a certain missionary came to their church. It touched my heart, and I thought I would share it with you:

Jeff and Beverly Bellamy from Bristol, TN serve the Lord through Rock of Ages Ministries. From what I understand, they try to reach youth in public schools and prisons in what they call “prison prevention.” Part of their ministry is to give out Bibles to every young person they come in contact with in those schools and prisons. Jeff said he was in a school one day and there were over four hundred students to whom he was speaking. He ran out of Bibles and some of the kids left empty-handed. He had no money to buy more, and he went away just broken-hearted that he could not supply more Bibles. He asked the Lord to show him how he might be able to ask God’s people to help out with this and an idea came to him. He began asking the people in the churches where he spoke to look at the dollar bills in their wallets, and especially notice the serial number on each bill. Each serial number begins with a letter like D or K or I. Some bills start with the letter B, and Jeff asked those fellow believers to consider checking their dollar bills when they get them for serial numbers beginning with a B and then setting aside those bills to buy Bibles for his or other ministries. “B is for Bibles,” he said. “That will help you to remember!”

Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah were so excited by this idea that when they got home they raced for their banks to check their dollar bills. Joshua had been saving up for several months for something special, refusing to spend a penny on anything else, but when several of the thirty dollars he had saved had B’s on them, he didn’t hesitate to put them in a jar for the “B is for Bibles” project. None of Benjamin’s bills had B’s, but every twenty minutes Joshua would pester Benjamin to go check his bills again. Benjamin finally told him, “Joshua! Nothing’s changed! I haven’t earned anything else, and those numbers aren’t going to magically turn into B’s!” Hannah was disappointed that she didn’t have any B bills, either. The next day she asked her mother, if PLEASE could she give some bills that didn’t have a B? “Of course!” her mommy told her, so she gave all her bills, and over the next few days somehow came up with enough change to turn the other 54 cents she had into another dollar. Now the kids are reminding their parents every time they get change at the store or a restaurant to check for B is for Bibles bills, and praying that God will send more B-bills their way so they can give them away!

I love it that my grandchildren cheerfully, generously and sacrificially give to the Lord on their own, without any prompting from their parents. I love it that they have hearts that are easily touched by the spiritual needs of others, and that they can see the value of placing the Word of God in as many hands as possible. I love it that David and Julie are doing such a wonderful job of teaching their children and leading by example. I pray that as they grow up, they will continue to grow in faith, knowledge and compassion, as well.

May we each be like these children—full of faith, loving the Lord and His Word, with compassionate hearts, generous spirits, and mindful of the spiritual needs of others. And hey! Start checking your dollar bills for B’s! I’m sure a missionary you know could use them to buy Bibles! For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? (Romans 10:13, 14)