Monday

don't worry

So the US congress is full of politicians. They failed at what they were supposed to do. I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

It is no secret that I have a job because people give to us out of their profound generosity. We are able to work and minister here only because God moves in the hearts of His people and they respond to His grace by being gracious and unselfish in return. I fall to my knees in thankfulness to those people and the people who pray for us. If we are the light bulb, you are the lamp and the cord and the building and the power lines and the generator.

And I understand that people cannot give money they do not have. And that I could, if I chose, become very afraid at what is going on right now with the US economy. And I have no idea what tomorrow will bring much less next week, next year.

But the Lord tells me not to be afraid, not to worry. Psalm 29 says,


"The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, "Glory!"

10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

11 The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace."

Read that again. Whose voice is that? The LORD - "I AM". He who is self-existent. He who has no beginning. He who created with His voice. He is not surprised or worried. His is the voice which levels a forest of oak. Why do we cry "Glory" when confronted with His awesome power? Because it is the only right response.

How bad was it during the flood? For all but 8, it was indeed the end of all things. It was death and horror and judgment. It was, may I say, a lot worse than things are now.

And yet the Lord was not taken aback. He was king. And He is King. And He will be King. Forever. Look at that last verse. What does the Lord give to His people? Fear and worry? No. He gives them strength and peace.

Strength and peace.

Not a joke. Not a pithy phrase. Not a piece of legislation.

Peace. Strength. What we need to make it through today. This day. And let tomorrow worry about itself.

Saturday

the wonder of facebook

So I just recently signed up on Facebook.

I thought I was doing good to have a blog and a website I never update. Apparently I've been missing out. Jenny and I have reconnected with a ton of old friends. It's pretty cool, really.

But it got me thinking. It's pretty addictive. You can sit for - a long time - and reconnect. And I was wondering what it is that makes it so addictive because I'm apparently not the only person who likes this. I don't know how many people are on facebook (anyone know?), but it's a lot. And it's not just a fad. People want (may even find themselves needing) to communicate to each other on a silly web-forum.

But what is it that makes us want to do this?

Community. Connectedness. We were made to be in a group of people. In relationships. The church is the perfect picture of this. Not that the church is perfect - that's another post - but that it's a perfect picture of what we are supposed to look like. A glimpse into how we were designed to work. A very broken picture in some cases.

But the Bible calls those who believe in Jesus part of a body. Not an organization or a club or even a forum. A body. Connected. And we were designed to work like this. We were created to be in relationships with people, connected to them. Sharing our lives with them.

Facebook is just another glimpse of what eternity will be like. Without the internet connection. Or the distance. Or the sin. Or any of the other things that keep people apart. It will be the ultimate community full of those who love the Lord and one another. I can't wait.

Until then - facebook ain't too bad.

Wednesday

What?

PETA Urges Ben & Jerry's To Use Human Milk

PETA is insane. Click HERE to read the article. I don't like to get political or too controversial here, but this is the Ramble Zone so, here it goes.

Human beings are the only creatures made in the image of God. We are, by our very being, more important than animals. The worst human being (and I mean Hitler bad) is immeasurably more valuable than the greatest (I'm talking Old Yeller good) animal. I admit that I would choose my favorite pet over the life of a child molester. But I would be wrong to do so. The Lord Jesus did not die for the sins of critters.

PETA does some things that are beneficial. And animals fall under the stewardship of human beings. PETA has, however, placed humans and animals on a level of equality. A concept which can only be justified by the most puerile of world views. Puerile is too lenient. It borders on insanity (part of whose definition is, "extreme folly or unreasonableness b: something utterly foolish or unreasonable").

Why, I wonder, do we drink cows milk? The Lord created the cow with the ability to produce a LOT of milk in a day. Much more than a woman. We have two children - both of whom were nursed. I'm a huge fan of breastfeeding - I think it a wonderful way to feed your baby. Ask a woman who has nursed twins how exhausting it is? Ask a woman who has tried to produce more milk how difficult it can be? And they want an ICE CREAM manufacturer to change to human milk. Ice Cream. Not ice breast milk. Do you have any idea how many gallons (gallons, people, think about that, anyone who has seen how much milk a mommy can produce in a day) of milk would be needed?

What does this make women into?

PETA, mired in insanity
has made women equal to cows. Mooooove over, Elsy. Here comes Sally, and Tina and Meredith. Insanity! God did not make women to produce enough milk to feed the populace. Or make Chunky Monkey. He gave women the ability to feed babies. The concept that women should become factories so what cows could have an easier life is as rediculous as giving a cat the same rights as a mother. Oh wait! PETA thinks this! It is, at best, insanity.

At least Ben and Jerry kindly declined.




Monday

boat ride

Our friends live across the lake where we visited last week. We can drive around it but it takes a few hours and as with just about everything it's faster to go through it than around it. There are a few ways to cross a lake - most of them involve floating. We chose a boat.

The boats around lake Atitlan ain't real fancy. They're fiberglass with Suzuki motors and a little roof. Mornings are calm. Glassy, no, but not yet choppy. Some lakes are stranger than others and Atitlan lives on the stranger end. Mysterious eddies, myths, mists and Xocomil - the Mayan water god who gives name to the Galilean storms whipped up in this volcano rimmed caldera lake.

Our ride was choppy. We sat in front. Planned what to do if the boat capsized. Who gets which kid. Normal stuff. BabyM missed her nap. Jenny had BoyD who wanted to look out the side. And we chopped along. The bow slapping and blocking our view. Every down-stroke of it nearly knocking us free of breath. A kidney jarring trip. And BabyM did something amazing. As I held her tight in my arms, warming her against the wind, my bicep her pillow...she slept.

Peace.

Our boat bounced so hard that my rear end caught air.

Peace.

We laughed at the force and noise.

Peace.

Where was she? On a boat? On a lake? In a storm? None of those matter. Where was she?

In her father's arms. Safe. Shielded. Warm. I would use all the power that is within me to protect, comfort and carry her. My comfort? Irrelevant. My safety? Unimportant.

And it was not lost on us. A child sleeping in her father's arms while all around her were noise and violence. She was being slammed around just like us. Her ride no less jarring. One thing differed. Her proximity to her father.

How rough does the journey get? How tired do we get? How much more is our Heavenly Father able to carry of through? If I use all of my power - how much greater is the Father's power? How strong are the arms which carry the children of God? How well do we sleep when the journey gets rough?

I know how well my daughter slept. In my arms. And how deeply I loved her then. And I saw in the tiniest way how deep the Father's love for us.

Wednesday

Goodness

Well, we're taking a sick day. Jenny and I have been going from 6-10 every day and it finally caught up with us. Sorry again about the blog-lapse.

The kids have a cold and Jenny and I are wading through the crud and we're just too wiped to study and do it all today so we took the day off to catch up on laundry and rest and get well. Traveling on back-to-back weekends is a beating with two kids under 3 in cloth diapers.

All that to say, we had a wonderful, wonderful time this weekend. We got to meet a bunch of missionaries and hear their stories and see their faces and connect with people. We feel a lot less isolated and alone knowing that there are folks here who know and love us. Oh, and Jenny found out that our field director's wife is a Pi Phi. Which is a sorority. Anyway, when they discovered this fact they both jumped up and squealed and clapped their hands and cried and hugged. It was the girliest thing I have ever witnessed. But it was fun.

We leave Friday or Saturday for Guatemala city to attend another meeting and pick my parents up! They will be here for 2 weeks and everybody is just so excited.

Hopefully I will be able to blog about something with a little more content later. I know this, though, that God is good and He makes no mistakes. How wonderful to trust and depend on He who knows all things. Oh, here's a few pictures of our weekend. Us in a boat about to cross the lake, the view from Las Buenas Nuevas, and that's us again. Not a bad spot.


Thursday

For one day


Maybe the politicians will stop slinging.
Maybe the news will report something happy.
Maybe folks in the US will pause (even stop?).
And remember.

Maybe the terrorists will rejoice.
Maybe our soldiers will feel their reason.
Maybe the world will think, "It can be any of us."
And remember.

Maybe brothers will hug their sisters.
Maybe parents will hold their children.
Maybe Christians will love people well today.
And remember.

Tuesday

No excuse


Sorry again faithful blog readers. Life has been busy and, well, anyway...

This weekend we are going to a retreat center located on Lake Atitlan about 3 hours or so from our home. CAM in Guatemala is currently in ministry teams and two of those teams are meeting to have a sort of fellowship retreat. It should be a wonderful time of fellowship and relaxing and talking and praying about what the Lord wants us to do. There's a CAM retreat center there where we can stay for $7 a night. Which makes it pretty budget friendly. We'll let you know how it went. Oh, and that's what the lake looks like.

The following weekend we need to go to the City to have another meeting with CAM and pick up my parents! BoyD will finally get to see his Grammy and Grampa again.

This week is also independence day week (Sept. 15 is the actual day) and there are parades with all the kids in town. We're going to try and go to the 3-7 year old parade tomorrow. Next week is the fair (like the State Fair - only smaller) and we may try to go to that and get a parasite or two. The food's just SO good. And we probably won't get a parasite - depending on how smart we are.

Ok. Hopefully I'll have time (and energy) to write something I've been thinking about later tonight. I'm reading a book that makes me feel a little better about being so tired while learning a language and adjusting here. Apparently that's normal. Using lots of "emotional energy" which I wasn't all that aware of having so little of before. That's not what the book is about - it's called Cross Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer and it is fantastic. But anyway.

Thursday

from the mouth

BoyD is REALLY excited to see Grammy and Grandpa (my parents). They are coming in 2 weeks. He keeps asking if PaPa is coming. PaPa is Jenny's dad who passed away in November.

Now, there are a lot of things that a 2.5 year old understands. And a lot he does not. So I was getting him in his PJs last night and he said,

"Daddy, is PaPa in heaven?"
"Yes. He is."
"Daddy, can PaPa hug me?"
"Yes, baby, one day, in heaven, he can give you a hug"
"Daddy, is God in heaven?"
"Yes."
"Is God here in my room?"
"Yes, BoyD, He is."
"Daddy, when God is in my room, can He hug me?"
"Yes. God can hug you, baby."
"Daddy?"
"Yes, little man."
"Can YOU hug me?"

Wow.

There are things I could never have learned but for having children. Theologically, it doesn't always have to make sense. Most times, it's better if it doesn't.

Tuesday

Storms

This is hurricanes Gustav and Hanna a day or two ago as Gustav made landfall. Thankfully they look worse than they ended up being and we don't have the destruction we had with Katrina.

But these things are HUGE! The two of them combined would cover the entire state of Texas, if not more.

The Bible talks so much about our position as unique creatures, created in the image of God. And yet reminds us constantly that we're like dust, grass and flowers that bloom and fade away, often to be remembered no more.

Storms come and we try to build levees to keep the water out. We build cities below sea level. We do this because we were created to rule this planet. To dwell here and worship the Lord, to steward His creation. When the Lord was caught in a storm on a tiny boat with His disciples freaking out all around Him - He slept. He was awakened and rebuked the wind and waves - put them in their place - and they settled down. Because He was the maker of these things.

But we are very much beneath such storms. They can kill us if we're silly and stand in their way. But they, for all their power and majesty, are not the Lord. He alone is the King Eternal, the calmer of storms. And He sits on His throne as Lord over all these things, yet fully involved in the lives and hearts of people. In calming their storms. More often though, we must endure them though they come one after the other; we endure them because He who made them dwelt among us and is with us still. He dwells among the grass and the dust and the flowers that fade because He loves us. And such things are more powerful than any storm.