Saturday, March 31, 2007

Closer to Heaven

My apologies to my blog-reading-buddies for the long delay between entries!

Today is my 46th birthday. I’ve been pondering the fact that I’m now closer to the age of 90 than I am to my birth. I don’t have a lot of deep reflections about turning the uninspiring age of 46. I’m reminded of my age every time I walk in the sun, because the top of my head gets sunburned really easy. That never happened when I was 26 and had a lot more hair. I am relieved to be able to say that we’re living for the Lord with purpose. It’s sweet to know that the Lord has a calling for us and that we’re on an adventure. I’d rather be 46 on a blessed adventure than be 26 and absorbed in a vain pursuit of entertainment. I’m closer to heaven today and I’m getting closer everyday—both in age and in my love for the Lord.
The picture of the compass in my hand is from last weekend's survival training camp in the jungle. We had to learn how to navigate with a compass. I thought it was an apt picture for one of the great themes of my life--navigating through life via the compass of the Word and the voice of the Holy Spirit.

God's Provision #3

Last weekend, the men at the language school went on a retreat where we learned survival skills. (We were at the world famous Royal Ranger Campground!) We had to build a shelter in the jungle and sleep in it over night. Here's a picture of me in the shelter I built with my survival buddy Nicky Ryder. We got to sleep about 1:00 AM. At 4:30 AM the rain came. There's a reason why they call it a "Rain Forest." It was a great experience. I had diarrhea for three days before we went, so I was already weak. The diarrhea continued during the weekend, but God had a provision for me that was nothing less than a miracle. I didn't have diarrhea in the jungle. I didn't have to wipe with a poisonous leaf. On Sunday morning, we ate breakfast near some cabins with bathrooms! But not only was there a pleasant, clean toilet--it had toilet paper! As I utilized the facilities, I was shouting praises.

2 Stories of God's provision

Our lives here are very full. We’re up at 6:00 AM and I frequently go to bed at Midnight—after having studied Spanish for many hours. Even though we’re having regular devotional times, I haven’t received a direct word from the Lord for what felt like a long time.

2 months ago, my family mailed me a package from the states. It didn’t arrive and we all assumed that it had been stolen. Yesterday (the day before my birthday), the package was delivered. Nobody knows where it’s been or why it’s been missing for two months. When it arrived I got two gifts, because the Lord spoke to me. God reminded me of Daniel praying for three weeks. In chapter 10 of the book of Daniel, the prophet received a vision that really disturbed him—so he prayed until the Lord gave him the interpretation of the vision. The interpretation came through a divine visitation by a person who appears to be Jesus. In 10:12-13 he says to Daniel, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.”

The Lord impressed upon my heart that sometimes mature Christians accept fate with courage and sometimes God doesn’t want them to accept fate, but rather, to pray through. That was the case in this one. About two weeks ago, the Lord spoke to me about continuing to pray that the package would be delivered, so I did. Yesterday it showed up. God is revealing to me the direct connection between faith, prayer and circumstances. The package was a great birthday gift, but it became even more special getting a word from the Lord at the same time.