I was wandering around the Army Navy surplus store looking for a good deal on something. I was open to what that might be. They tried to interest me in some body armor—a bullet-proof vest. It was a camouflaged vest with multiple pockets and places to attach my survival gear. Wearing that vest, I could face down the bad guys when all of the bad stuff starts to happen. What stuff? You know robbers, looters, zombies, that kind of stuff. Here, try it on. It’s only $140.00. It’s like new. I looked it over. They were right. I did not see any bullet holes anywhere on it. Of course, this particular vest must have been worn by someone bigger and probably in better shape than I am. It reminded me of a Bible story.
You remember the story of David and Goliath. David volunteers to challenge the giant Goliath in a death match. Everyone stops laughing when they realize that David is deadly serious. The well-intentioned king decides that David needs to wear the best armor available, so David puts on the king’s armor. It’s too much, too big and too heavy. “David tried walking around, because he was not used to them. …I cannot go in these. . . So he took them off.” (1 Samuel 17) David used his own armor: faith in God, a slingshot and a stone. I remembered the lesson, be true to who you are; do not wear someone else’s armor.
God provides the custom-fitting armor that each of us needs for the spiritual battles that we face every day. “Put on the whole armor of God,” admonishes Paul in Ephesians chapter 6. Hiding behind someone else’s armor will never work. Face the day ready to meet the test, not with bullets, guns or even body armor, but with the grace and strength of God’s love and power. When all the bad stuff starts to happen do not be afraid, for our God is with us.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Wear your own armor. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
When the conversation turned to yurts, I was at a disadvantage. My concept of a yurt was vague and sketchy at best. A yurt is a name for a portable house used by nomadic shepherds and others across central Asia. It is a shorter, wider, heavier cousin to a teepee. To Mongolians, the word for “home” is “yurt.” Recent severe flooding in Inner Mongolia destroyed dozens of yurts. Our son-in-law Kevin was asked by the Chinese Red Cross to help assess the situation to see if his charitable organization could help the affected people. He and his friend Samuel traveled the 22 hours by train and bus to the region, located near the Russian border with north central China. They determined that yurts, wheelchairs and medical personnel were the primary way his organization could help.
An effort was launched to provide new yurts for the area. A modern yurt costs about $1,000 US dollars. Kevin had already been in contact with a team of believing American doctors and dentists who wanted to serve for a rural area. Arrangements were made with the doctors and the Chinese authorities for a trip October 13-23 to set up a medical clinic. Winter temperatures have already set in and light snows are not unusual in the part of Mongolia where they will be working. There is strong spiritual opposition in this region of the world and I know Kevin and the team would appreciate your continued prayers for their efforts to reach the people with needed Good News. You can see pictures of the area and read some of Kevin’s report on the web at, http://servepraylove.blogspot.com/
Disaster relief is an on-going reality of our times. So many disasters, far and near, can lead to an emotional fatigue as we wrestle with our part in helping others. So many are living crisis to crisis, day after day; our assignment is to be the presence of Christ pointing the way. “Do not grow weary in well doing,” says Paul, “for in due time the harvest will be ready.”
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. There’s no place like yurt. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.
It was nearly midnight on October 1. Dorothy and I felt a bit like Mary and Joseph after being turned away by all the old Route 66 motels on Tulsa’s 11th Street. Our baby was six weeks old. We had spent the whole day helping movers load the moving van and then we unexpectedly learned that they were going to drive overnight to Tulsa to unload the van at our little duplex first thing in the morning. That’s when the scrambling began. We filled our trusty ’64 Rambler with the baby and the rest of our worldly goods and left Ft. Worth behind. But now it was midnight. We stopped at the Desert Hills Motel, where we had stayed before, but something called the Tulsa State Fair (not Tulsa County Fair, I learned) was in full swing less than a mile away, so every room was taken. We eventually found a room on the seventh floor of the downtown Holiday Inn. What a short night!
Very early the next morning we had to load everything back into the car and get across town to the new place. The moving van was already waiting. We spent the morning unloading and setting up the place. Eventually Dorothy said that we needed to go shopping right then. Why? We had this little baby and our place had no washer, dryer or refrigerator, and there was something about babies and laundry and eating that need tending to. So on our first full day in Tulsa – it was a Tuesday – we bought the appliances and had them delivered the next day. Wednesday night I was welcomed by Dr. Bob Willets and the church people to the evening prayer service. I delivered my first sermon as a minister of our church on the first Sunday morning of October 1973. The Scripture was from 1 Corinthians chapter 1. That day I began a verse-by-verse study of that book which lasted into the following February.
So I have been in a reflective mood this week about these 40 years together. Thank you for inviting me and allowing me into some of the most sacred moments of your family’s life. Thank you for welcoming us and giving us room to mature as a pastor and as a family. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for ministering to us and helping us raise and teach our children and their children the holy things of God. You are loved, and I am so blessed.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. And let’s continue to experience the love and power of God together.