Posted in Family, fear, gratitude, life, Scripture, sovereignty of God, thankful, travel, Trials, wisdom

GPS and Me

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

About 13 years ago, something happened that literally changed the way that I navigate and travel. Before this day, I would get out my trusty atlas and Judy would do her best to read and translate what it said.  It was, uh, challenging.  But then came the night I discovered—GPS.

You see, Judy, a friend, and I were heading to First Baptist Church of Metropolis to report on a mission trip we had taken.  When we left my house, she said she had a new something in her new car that could tell us where we were and how to get to where we were going.  “Say what?” I said.  Well, she was right.  She punched in the address and that thing in her dash started talking.  Turn here, go straight, turn again and eventually we found ourselves in the parking lot of First Baptist.  Amazing.

Well, if you know me you know I am a tech guy.  I love gadgets.  I remember what I said that night–“I’ve got to have one of these.” So off to Best Buy I went and before long I had one of those “talky” things in my car (I mean besides Judy—smile).  Well, my talky thing had a glitch.  It would say things like a trip that should take three hours would take eighteen. That was not helpful or encouraging.  But hey, a quick trip back to Best Buy and the rest is history.

Now we all know now that the “talky” thing is called a GPS receiver. It is common now but back then it was cutting edge.   It is simplistic yet amazing.  First, far above the earth out in space there is a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS).  It’s job is to watch out for the little “talky” things.  The “talky” things both send a signal and receive a signal from the GPS.  It’s really quite simple.  The talky thing says this is me and the GPS says, “This is where you are.” What makes it even more powerful is that the map built into the talky thing, shows the lay of the land–the roads, the places to eat, the places to do life and on and on. These three, the GPS, the talky thing, and the map, all work together to get you where you need to go. But it is the thing in the sky, the GPS, that makes it all work. It knows all.  It.Knows.All.

Of course, God had this GPS thing down long before the government and Best Buy came up with theirs.  First, He made the “talky” things–that would be us and gave us the privilege of talking with Him and listening to Him (don’t miss that part).  Second, He is up there with an advantage point that we can only imagine. He sees even the craziest of days in a way we cannot. Ever wonder why His directions seem so “odd?”  Ever wonder why we sometimes are forced to admit, “God works in mysterious ways?”  Well, there you go–He can see further, clearer, and better than we can–by a long shot.

All this is nice, but the clarity all comes from the map–the Word of God.  It is God’s revelation of Himself to us and where we learn about Him, about us, where we are, and where He thinks we should go.  It’s pretty incredible. So, we pray, and we listen–He listens and speaks (through His Word, through others, and through circumstances) and life goes better–even when it is crazy like 2020, or 2021 or like tomorrow.

I think it was Dave Ramsey who said we should turn off the news and read our Bibles. Wow, that is a great idea and it really works. Of course, as you read, get ready to act. I’m learning when the GPS says “turn” I should turn.  I’m also learning to listen to the other “talky” thing in my life–Judy–smile.

The map says in Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” This whole new normal has us in uncharted waters and on untraveled roads. Let’s be honest—the unknown can be a little frightening.  My wife and I just returned from a pastor’s conference and the guy was speaking on “ministering in a land that you have never been before.”  So right and so true.  Trust me (and a whole boat load of experts) if we try and do church (or life) like we did in 2019, well, it will either fail or worse. So, let’s trust the GPS (God’s Powerful Son), the map (His powerful Word) and let Him navigate this trip for us.  Hey, rest in Him.  He’s got this.  Bro. Dewayne

Posted in missions, Scripture, travel

Peg Leg Sally

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Strange things happen in Africa.  For the past 12 or 13 years, our church has made regular trips to Africa.  We began in Niger and later moved down to Mali.  The last six years or so we have been working in Uganda. Regardless of what country, you can count on Africa to give you plenty of unusual  and strange sights.  So in some ways I wasn’t surprised.

We were on an island in Lake Victoria, Uganda.  On any given trip we visit at least three or four different islands offering free medical care, children’s ministries, ladies ministries and visiting the people in their huts to tell them the stories of Jesus.  The point of it all is to let them hear the Good News that there is a God who loves them—a lot. So we were winding down the day.  The medical clinic was finishing and four or five of us men were sitting in the shade under the “front porch” of one of the buildings.

So, we were talking and like I said you see some strange things in Africa so I wasn’t surprised when my friend said, “Look, there goes a woman with a peg leg.” Well, I turned around to look and didn’t see what he was talking about. I did see a lady some distance away but couldn’t see her peg leg.  I mean, the only peg legs I knew about were in Peter Pan, so my curiosity was peaked.

I turned back around but didn’t say anything.  But, it stuck in my mind.  After ten minutes or so, I just had to ask my friend about this strange sight.  I said, “Tim, did you say something about a lady with a peg leg?” His expression told me I must have missed something. He gave me a perplexing look. All he could manage was a “uh?”  I said, “You know, a few minutes ago you said you saw a lady with a peg leg.” He responded with, “No.  I said I saw a man carrying a stringer of fish.”  Silence. Snickers.  Laughter.

Yup.  Somewhere in the process of the conversation what was said and what I heard were two totally, and I mean totally, different things.  There was no lady with a peg leg only a guy with a stringer of fish.  You are probably wondering how I got “peg leg” out of “stringer of fish.”  All I can say is strange things happen in Africa. I’m glad there wasn’t a crippled lady but the idea of a peg leg like Captain Cook’s sure did intrigue me.

And do you know what?  Sometimes I think this happens with God and me. I think He is saying something and I totally miss it.  Does that happen to you? I think it’s more common than we think. We think we hear Him say, “You have the right to be mad” and in fact He’s saying, “Forgive.”  We think we hear Him say, “Take” and really He was saying, “Give.” Oh, and then we thought He said, “Quit” and He was saying, “Serve.” And it just goes on and on.  We hear “Leave” and He is saying, “Stay.” We hear “Go ahead” and He is saying “Stop, wait, don’t.” Seems strange things don’t happen only in Africa.  Smile.

So, I’m not sure what caused the totally humorous miscommunication in Uganda.  It may have been my hearing, could have been the village noise…who knows.  There may not have been a fix for that, however, when it comes to hearing God clearly there is something that will really help.  It is His Word.  In so many situations (though I’m not sure peg legs are one of them) the Bible gives us clear guidance.

Here is one thing you can count on.  The voice of God (what we think we hear God saying) will not, ever, never, contradict the Word of God.  If you think you hear Him saying, “Revenge” when someone has hurt you, you probably have “Peg Leg Syndrome.”   If you think you hear Him saying, “Be afraid” when circumstances are frightful, you probably have “Peg Leg Syndrome.” You get the idea.

Talking about the Word of God, Paul said that it is good for learning, good for insight about what is wrong in our lives, good for correcting us when we are wrong and good for teaching us about how to live right.  The Bible is an amazing Book. It has stood the test of time and, while there are different translations, there is not a version 4.3 because God got it right the first time. So if you are talking with your friends and someone mentions a lady with a peg leg, you might want to ask for some clarification.  And if you think you heard God say something that sounds a little not like Him, check the Book, go to the source.  Peg leg stories can be funny but withholding forgiveness when it is ours to give, hating instead of loving, leaving too soon instead of staying…well, that can cause a lot of pain.  And if find yourself singing and living that 1974 hit “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” it might just be a bad case of Peg Leg Syndrome.  Just pull out the Book, read a little and rest in Him.  He’s got this.