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7/11/09 (Saturday)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

8:20 AM.  In spite of being hot and sweaty when I went to bed and feeling the oppressive humidity, I slept fairly well.  I must have been really tired.  In the middle of the night I was awakened by the sound of rain on the roof and it was a pleasant sound indeed.  Again, God provided much needed water for us.  Yesterday, a couple men were at the clinic working on the new well.  One man came walking around the corner of the building and he was covered with mud, head to foot.  He must have been down in a hole somewhere working on the pump or whatever he was doing.  He was just covered with mud.  I had to wonder how he would ever get that mud out of his clothing.  I suspect he would go to the river and jump in and thrash about and walk out clean.  Hopefully, they will figure out what the problem is and get it fixed so the clinic can have some water.  About 7:45 this morning they started a big air compressor they brought in yesterday and parked close to the building where we sleep.  This was parked about 30 feet from the window where Steven and I are parked.  Needless to say, when they started this compressor this morning, an engine without any muffler, all peace and quiet disappeared.  I had awakened about 7 unable to lie in the bed any longer and had gotten up and showered.  Steven was still sleeping when I left the room with the air compressor running full blast.  While in the shower I heard the now familiar sound of rain on the roof again.  I looked out of the window and it was raining nicely.  The rain has now fallen for about an hour at a fairly steady pace with lots of puddles forming in the yard and on the road.  God keeps supplying us with what we need in spite of the “dry” season!!  Praise Him for His bountiful blessings, blessings we frequently take for granted and expect them to happen.  We fail to realize that everything we touch and see every day is there because of God’s blessing.  I fail to thank Him for that at times and today especially I confessed to God my shortcomings for not appreciating all He has given to me.  It took a simple rain shower to bring me to my knees in thanks to Him for everything, even my breath of life I enjoy this morning. 

I have been thinking about the concept of relationship and trying to view what we are doing here in that context.  What am I learning about the importance of my relationship with God?  How am I acting that out, especially in the work we do each day?  How am I displaying that relationship so others will learn about God and the importance of their own relationship with Him?  While I was still in bed awake and thinking and praying, it became clear to me that my relationship with God, with Christ, must be so close that my thoughts and Christ’s thoughts mingle and mix and even combine together.  Actually, I must be so close and so dependent on Him that His thoughts become my thoughts.  As I live in that close relationship with Jesus, all of life before me is taken through this filter.  I am able to view the path ahead through His eyes and interpret the situations through His wisdom and insight.  As I encounter the decisions I must make I am able to work through those decisions in His wisdom and discernment and apply the proper response through His love and grace.  Essentially, our relationship is such that I become completely absorbed into Him and we act in concert, working together, communicating heart to heart, approaching all of life together as one.  I believe that is the relationship God wishes for each of us.  He offers that relationship as a wonderful part of knowing Him.  It is up to us to accept that gift and make it a part of our lives.  If I feel I do not have that close relationship with Christ, I have to ask myself, “Who moved?”  Continually, I learn that Christ is always there and always available.  He never moves away from me.  I am the one who moves away from Him and when that happens, I miss the closeness of our relationship greatly.  I suppose if I spent enough time away from Him my heart would harden to the point I would not even miss Him anymore.  I cannot let that happen, even though that is Satan’s great desire for me. 

How do I learn Christ’s thoughts?  How do I learn to know Him so deeply?  When I ask these questions the answer becomes totally obvious.  The only way to know Christ at this level is to study Him, to read His Word, the Holy Scriptures, and listen to Him, to talk with Him all the time (prayer), and to make Him central in my life every moment.  I can only know Him by maintaining that close relationship with Him where we deal with every step along life’s path together, constantly interacting as if I were walking a path with my wife or a very close friend.  I must seek Him and His counsel, especially if there are some problems in our path, some rugged terrain, some dangers and risks.  I need Him to shield me and protect me from the traps that Satan would place in my path to trip me or snare me and take me away from Christ.  Those traps are always there and become so part of our nature that sometimes we cannot easily recognize them.  John writes in 1 John 2:15-17: 15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.(NIV)  He talks about the Satan’s strategy that he employs over and over to cause us to sin.  He works through our eyes, our flesh and our mind.  There are temptations that will entice me that I may see and be attracted to.  There are temptations that work on my inner self, my body, that become very distracting and desirable.  I must filter all of these through my relationship with Christ.  And there are temptations that trigger my pride, my selfishness, my worship of things that will draw me away from Christ.  All of these look very good at first glance.  Even after considering them they may still look very good, even delicious.  People in whom you trust for good counsel may likewise encourage you to partake of these things that are actually pulling you away from Christ.  Satan is a master at manipulating the situation to his benefit and my failure.  All he has to do is interject an element of doubt and my faith starts to crumble resulting in breaks in my relationship with Christ.  This strategy was introduced in the Garden of Eden when the serpent (Satan) approached Eve and asked, “Did God really tell you to not eat of any of the fruit of the garden?”  Not only was he misstating God’s commands to Adam and Eve, he was also introducing doubt into their minds.  He was making them question God’s wisdom and knowledge.  He was telling them to think for themselves and become their own gods.  How often do we see this strategy being employed in our lives today?  It is there all the time.  And it will break down that relationship with Christ very easily.  That is Satan’s goal, to cause me (you) to break away from Christ.  He offers something better but it is a complete lie.  Those who fall for his trap then realize they were victims of a lie.  At that point it sometimes is too late to recover.  Then the remainder of life is lived with the consequences of that separation from Christ and Satan is laughing all the way to the bank on your (my) behalf. 

My relationship with Christ is so important and I continually learn this truth every day.  As soon as I become self confident and smug about it, I then trip and fail because I took my eyes off Christ and declared my independence from Him telling Him I can go it alone.  That relationship with Christ is the most important part of one’s life.  It is the foundation of every thought and response that would occur along life’s path every day.  It has taken me 65 years to understand this.  Every day I want to walk with Christ in such close proximity that I not only enjoy fellowship with Him, I also enjoy His wisdom, His guidance, His knowledge, His protection, and most of all, His love.  That love is so immense I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around it.  That love covers all.  That love is unfailing in spite of my shortcomings. 

Lord, thank You for speaking to me and teaching me this morning.  In the quietness of the early morning as I was awake and laying still, You spoke to me clearly and gave me instruction about our relationship.  Thank You, Lord, for Your willingness to take me under Your wing to mentor me, to teach me, and to protect me.  Thank You for inviting me to join You on life’s path, for allowing me to walk with You and commune with You as if we were brothers.  Thank You, Lord, for how You work in my life to bring me closer to You.  Thank You, Lord, for creating this relationship in the first place.  Lord, I want that relationship.  I can’t get enough of it.  I want it to blossom and mature in my life so I can enjoy Your presence and unfailing love all the time.  Lord, protect me from myself.  Help me to guard my heart and to wear the blinders I need to avoid the entrapments of Satan and sin.  Help me to identify temptation and deal with it without falling into sin and its consequences.  Lord, I am overwhelmed at the thought of You loving me so much that You would choose to die on the cross just to save my soul.  And You not only did that for me but You did that for everyone.  I don’t understand that depth of love but I experience it when I walk with You and enjoy the relationship we have together.  Thank You, Lord!

Lord, please be with Dad today.  Comfort him and connect with his mind and heart.  He is unable to connect with those around him because of the comatose state.  Yet, I know that is no barrier to You.  Assure him that You are there with him and will guide him into Your presence for eternity.  I want what is best for Dad.  Don’t keep him alive as I would know it just so I can see him when I return.  I don’t want him to suffer any more.  Please enact Your will in his life.  Thank You, Lord.

Father, also love Phyllis and my family and friends in a special way today.  Let them know You love them so much and Your desire for them is to have this close relationship, a heart-binding-to-heart type of relationship that is founded on love that is beyond our comprehension.  I miss them, Father.  Please protect them and nurture them. 

Lord, today is another opportunity to bring You glory and honor.  May we do that through our thoughts, speech, and actions today.  We have some work to do and also some down time just to relax.  May our minds continually be filled with You.  Thank You, Lord!  Amen.

6:30 PM.  Our day was one of watching it rain for 3 plus hours this morning.  The rain was a steady rain that produced a lot of mud puddles.  This was an answer to prayer.  The men worked on the well pump all day and determined the motor had burned out.  The cost to fix the well will be in the range of $4800.  This is a huge price to pay and Jane’s clinic budget will find this cost a major setback.  Yet, she needs water to be able to function.  This certainly will be a prayer concern for her. 

This morning we worked with Jane helping to organize her supplies she received from Fort Wayne Premier Surgery Center and also things donated through Samaritan’s Purse.  The surgery center in Fort Wayne was moving to a new facility and much of the equipment was donated to Jane.  She obtained two operating room beds, two anesthesia machines, a lot of laparoscopy equipment and boxes and boxes of other supplies.  We worked on organizing all the supplies so she can have some idea of what she has here to work with.  The supplies she received will really augment her ability to care for the people who enter through her doors. 

About 3 PM we stopped for lunch.  Loida fixed ceviche, an Ecuadorian specialty.  There is no good way to describe this dish.  I was introduced to it on my first trip here and immediately found it to be one of my favorites.  It is a cold mixture of cooked shrimp, onions, tomato puree, lemon juice and some other ingredients.  The taste is totally different than anything I have ever eaten.  The cold mixture is poured over steamed rice.  It is absolutely delicious, that’s all I can say. 

After our “lunch” we then went into town to walk around and look at the sights.  We stopped at the Hotel Continental where Rosa, the proprietor, serves homemade ice cream.  Every trip we make it to town to visit with Rosa.  She is a very nice lady who is always excited to see us and give us her Ecuadorian welcome of hugs and kisses.  Of course, I enjoy the hugs and kisses and the ice cream!

We have returned to the clinic house for the night.  It has been a different day watching it rain and working in the clinic organizing supplies.  I had been sending out emails to family and friends to pray for rain for us so we can have water for the clinic.  So far, in this “dry” season, we have had daily rain.  The rain this morning was fairly heavy.  I received an email from my daughter about the rain and she reminded me of one of her favorite passages in Scripture: James 5:16-18 16…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.(NIV).  She said watching prayers being answered is a great privilege.  Elijah prayed for rain and the heavens gave rain.  God answered and continues to answer our prayers.  As I am writing this the clouds are rolling in and I would suspect we will see more rain this evening.  We must have a lot of righteous people praying for the heavens are opening up and giving us what we asked for.  Now we need to be careful and not complain on how wet it is and be frustrated with the mud.

Father, You are an awesome God!  We asked You for rain and You immediately and abundantly provided.  And it was free to us!!  Lord, thank You for this.  Now I would like to pray for the funds to fix the pump motor.  This cost is outside of the budget to operate the clinic and the new well made the water needs consistently met without any problem.  Not we see how vulnerable we are without Your sufficient grace.  Lord, thank You for bringing us water.  Thank You for hearing our prayers and answering them.  Thank You in advance for Your continued provision for the next week when our water needs will be much more urgent.  I pray for a good supply of water for the entire week ahead so we can accomplish the surgeries and provide the means for physical and even spiritual healing for these people.  Lord, I pray for the funds to help Jane fix the well. 

Father, thank You for watching over my dad.  Please comfort him at this time when his life is ebbing away.  Please take him home with You so he can enjoy eternity in Your glorious presence.  He will suffer no longer.  Thank You for filling my heart with confident hope for Dad. 

Father, thank You for Your unfailing love for me and the team here as well as my family.  Thank You for forgiving us when we fail You and encouraging us through Your love and grace.  Thank You, Father.  Amen.

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