The Time and Weather is for Hua Hin, Thailand where we currently live

Daily Bible Verse

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Clean Sweep. . .

Sometimes as I sweep up the floors of our house, or sweep the tiled outdoor area that surrounds our house, I get frustrated.

“Frustrated from sweeping?  Huh?!”  It is true.

You see, in America I always had long handled brooms with stiff bristles to sweep with, and here in Thailand I have a broom with a handle half the length that I am used too and the bristles are wispy.  In other words, the harder I try to sweep the less effective I am.

As a missionary living in Thailand I have learned to watch how the local Thai people do things, and this is what I learned about sweeping:  It is almost like a dance. 

Ah, like a dance. . .I used to be a ballet dancer, now that is a language I understand!

So, as I watched the Thai’s sweep with the short handled brooms, I noticed that they held the broom lightly in their hand as they took a step and gently with a fluid motion brought the broom forward.  The dust was encouraged forward as it softly wafted into the air and settled to the ground in a location in front of the brooms arc.  The dirt just seemed to obey the gentle prodding of the broom, and continued to move along.

Never have I seen a Thai using a Thai broom in a harsh or rough manner.  Which I can tell you, from experience, is a good thing – because it does not work.  Lol!  I have tried to wield my short broom in short, staccato type motions to hurry my sweeping along, all to no avail as the dust basically refuses to obey.

So, I have figured out that I can fight the dirt and dust by trying to make it comply to my way of sweeping, (pushing, brushing fast, with the bristles pressing and scraping against the floor), or I can sweep in a light, encouraging, arcing dance like motion and finish my sweeping without frustration.

Fortunately, I have chosen the wise way of working with the broom the way it works best, and I have found my level of frustration with sweeping completely diminished.

When I think about how the Lord works through the Holy Spirit with me, I see that He gently encourages me and gently admonishes me if I need it.  I am so grateful that the Lord teaches with love and encouragement. The Lord does not usually use the “2 x 4 method” (hitting me on the head with a piece of wood) unless I am stubborn, like a sticky spot on the floor that a gentle sweeping motion just won’t get.

As we work with youth of varying ages at the Youth Center, we nearly always find that encouragement, and a gentle word works best in teaching them.  They are always more inclined to obey and to act in-kind to each other.  So rather than forcing lessons or speaking unkind words, we use the balm of gentleness and encouragement to help them grow into the young people that God wants them to be.  (I actually find this approach works with people of all ages.)

Most people thrive when taught and helped with soft, encouraging words and actions.

I pray that each of us would speak wise words that uplift and encourage, not words that injure and teardown.

Proverbs 31:26 –She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

John 14:26 – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Psalm 143:10 “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled. . .

This week I was going to teach on John 14, “Let not your heart be troubled. . .”  Hmmm.

So here is how my week went. . .

·         I went to use the washer the other day, and it would not work“Let not your heart be troubled.”

·         I got a different power strip, and it melted“Let not your heart be troubled.”

·         We went to the Youth Center yesterday, and the door to the building was already open.  I don’t mean unlocked, I mean open.  Not good.  “Let not your heart be troubled.” 

·         I went to wash up a few dishes at the Youth Center, and I had a trickle of water and then no water“Let not your heart be troubled.”

·         Then Bill and I loaded up the refrigerator at the Youth Center with drinks for the kids, because we will not have much time when we get back from Chiang Mai next Saturday before Youth Group.  Bill opened the freezer and found that all of the ice cream had melted and turned into soup.  Here we had celebrated that we had a working refrigerator with a decent size freezer so we could store ice cream and not have to buy it every week for each youth.  “Let not your heart be troubled.”

·         Wednesday the owner of the property where we rent the Youth Center building stopped by to tell us that something had blown the electric to the entire complex, and he was not sure when electric would be restored.  Let not your heart be troubled.”

·         We were supposed to have a roof rack and luggage holder installed on the roof of our car, because 7 of us are driving up to Chiang Mai for a week.  That is a 12 hour drive, and although the 7 of us fit comfortably in the car, that does not leave much room for luggage.  But that was not supposed to be a problem, because we had an appointment Wednesday morning at 8:00 to have a roof rack and luggage holder installed.  We dropped off the car at 8:00 and around 9:30 they called to say that they could not do it.  We drove back to the dealer on our scooter and talked to them.  They said that the roof would leak if they put on the roof rack, but that we should not worry because Friday they could get a different kind that would work.  The trouble is that we are to leave Thursday.  So, now 7 of us and our luggage are going to squeeze into our car.  There is very little room behind the third row of seats, so each person is only bringing the bare minimum of necessities.  Ah, the best laid plans. “Let not your heart be troubled.”

·         We got a GPS for the trip and the website is not working that we have to use to authenticate the software in order to use it.  “Let not your heart be troubled.”

·         Now I have a rash on my arm.  “Let not your heart be troubled.”

·         There are other things that I could mention, but let’s just say, I don’t want to go there.  “Let not your heart be troubled.”

I guess the Lord really wants me to “Let not my heart be troubled” no matter what the circumstances.

So, I am trying to live how Jesus wants me too, reminding myself to “Let not my heart be troubled”.  I give all of my trials and challenges to the Lord in full faith, and I truly feel that my heart is not troubled.  And I change my attitude to gratitude.

Thank you Lord!  Thank you for love. . .when I know I don’t deserve it.  Thank you for peace. . .when it seems there shouldn’t be any.  Thank you for joy. . .when it seems impossible.  Thank you for answers. . .when there don’t seem to be any.  Thank you for an untroubled heart. . .when life just seems topsy-turvy.

Thank you Lord that You love me that much.

So my prayer for each of you is that you “Let not your hearts be troubled.”  Truly!

Jesus says in John 14:1  "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me."

Let’s live it, and be blessed!



Thursday, June 2, 2011

I Did It!

‘Did what?’, you might ask.  Well. . .

I gave my ‘will’ to God.

Okay, okay, I can guess what you are thinking. . .“Wait a minute, you are a missionary, what do you mean you gave your will to God?  Didn’t you do that a long time ago?”

Well the truth is, I thought I had!  But praise God for the Holy Spirit and His work in me as I read a book that opened my eyes to the truth.  The truth is that I had not completely given my will to the Lord.

So to quench your curiosity, I will tell you that I had not given the Lord my will when it came to food.

I would constantly ask the Lord to work in me and through me, giving Him my every moment. . .and yet. . .that is not how I lived when it came to food.  You see, I would be loving and obedient to the Lord until ‘the cookies called’, and then all bets were off.  I would ignore the voice telling me to “step away from the cookies”.   I would seek to satisfy myself by eating, even though I was eating for every reason except that I was hungry.  I would eat because I was having a bad day, or because someone was cruel to me, or, or, or.  The list goes on.  There were plenty of scenarios that (in my mind) warranted my indulgence in eating when I wasn’t even remotely hungry.  And the sad thing is, after the indulgence I never felt better.  I still had the feelings that I had before turning to food, plus then I also had the guilt.

The book that I read explained that God made our bodies perfectly, and that if we would just listen to our bodies and eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full we would be just the size God intended us to be.  (Of course there can be medical reasons that some people are overweight, but with me that was not the case.)

The Lord really spoke to my heart and I could see that what I was doing was sinning.  I was keeping part of my life from the Lord.  I had put up a wall between myself and the Lord when it came to my over indulgence with food.  The last thing I wanted was any sort of barrier between me and the Lord.  So I got on my knees and asked the Lord for forgiveness, and asked Him to strengthen me and teach me how to eat like I should.

As Jesus said in Luke 22:42  ". . .not my will, but yours. . ."

The Lord has been so gracious, and the forgiveness has been so freeing.  Some of you may think that obedience means more rules to follow, but I found it to be just the opposite.  I found obedience to be incredibly freeing.  Why?  Because God knows what is best for us.  Gone was the guilt and the shame, in its place was peace and joy.  You can’t beat that!

I immediately started listening to the Lord, and waiting until I was hungry before I ate – no matter what time it was.  And, I stopped eating when I was full.  Sometimes, I would eat just a few fork fulls and then I felt full and I would stop eating.  Other times I would eat quite a bit more before I felt full.

The Lord strengthened me as people tried to coerce me into eating more food, or teasing me about not being a member of the ‘clean your plate club’ anymore.

Not only did I really start to feel closer to the Lord, but the pounds (or kilos, as they say here in Thailand) just started to drop off.  I got the usual questions, “How small are you trying to get?” or “How much weight are you trying to lose?”  But the truth is I did not do this to lose weight.    Of course it was good that I lost weight, but that is not why I changed how I reacted around food.

For me, it was a heart issue.  For me, it was a sin issue.  I needed to address my lack of obedience to the Lord and do a U-turn, and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance I have done it.

Don’t even ask how much weight I have lost, because I do not know.  All I know is that I am enjoying eating so much more than I ever have, because now I really enjoy waiting to become hungry.  And when I do get hungry, I enjoy figuring out what I really want to eat and then I eat exactly that.

I have not given up eating any foods.  (I know from past experience, that giving up foods just makes me crave them all the more.)  In fact today I had a hot fudge sundae.  Yum!  That is what I really wanted, so that is what I had.  I couldn’t finish it all, but what I ate was delicious, and I did not mind pushing my bowl aside when I was full. 

Joshua 1:9  tells us to:  ". . .Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.""

I have had such strength from the Lord during this time, and I have been blessed to be able to share with others how the Lord has done this work in me.

So, I want to encourage you.  God wants to draw you closer to Himself.  God does not want there to be anything that acts as a barrier between you and Him.  God is a Holy, Righteous God, and it is just incredible that He allows – much less wants us to draw near to Him.  So let Him help you.  Let Him strengthen you.

Maybe it is eating that is a barrier between you and the Lord.  Maybe it is how you spend your time.  Reading, watching TV, spending time on computer. . .and yet not finding time to spend time in God’s Word.  The list goes on.  You know what you have let come between yourself and the Lord. 

So, “be strong and courageous”.  You don’t have to do it alone.  Jesus left us with a Helper, the Holy Spirit, and He is always ready and willing to help us draw closer to the Father.

I am praying that you too will give your ‘will’ completely to the God the Father.  Don’t hold back, God’s plan for you is amazing. 

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Praise God!



Me (April) enjoying our 3 puppies:  Lil’ Squirt, Alphie & Pumpkin.