The Next Month Before We Travel to India Doesn’t Look Good!
In a little over a month my wife, Margaret, and I are flying to India. We will visit the Love Children’s Home Orphanage and then lead Stand Firm pastors conferences. This is the fourth year in a row we have hosted and led pastors conferences in different parts of India. There will be many good things that happen on the trip. Yet based upon what happened the last three years, I recognize the next month will be difficult.
Three Reasons the Next Month Doesn’t Look Good
- God will test my faith. I never imagined I would train thousands of pastors around the world. Each year we have raised the goal for the number of pastors we are training. This year we are trusting God for more than in the past. I know that each day that passes it will get harder and harder to trust God to provide. There will be times when doubts will flood my mind. There will be times when I assume I’m foolish to even think we could do such a task.
- The enemy will attack me. Satan often focuses his attacks on my faith, trusting God for His provision. The attacks are also accusatory thoughts. I’ve had them before. They will be thoughts like these, “You’re foolish to do this. God will not provide. You will fail and your failure will embarrass you. You’re nobody!” Throughout the next month these attacks will become more frequent and as exhausting as wrestling matches!
- I will face many trials. I will not get enough sleep. There will be times I don’t feel well. There will be travel problems, and delays. The power will fail during a conference. Someone will forget to do something important. It will be hard, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
This sounds bleak, but it’s not. Here’s why.
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Mary’s Christmas Story
I need to sleep, but I can’t. It’s quiet now. Joseph is out getting more fuel for the fire. Jesus is sleeping peacefully beside me. I’m exhausted but I don’t want to sleep. So many wonderful things have happened today, I want to soak it all in. I don’t want this moment to end.
I didn’t feel this way two days ago. When Joseph and I arrived in Bethlehem, all I wanted was for this pregnancy to be over. The six-day journey from Nazareth wasn’t bad, as journeys go. We were fortunate that a kind traveler in our caravan offered to let me ride on his donkey. It was better than walking, but there really isn’t anything enjoyable about riding a donkey 12 hours a day. Each step was a jostling reminder that the new life within me would soon want out.
I didn’t know what to expect in Bethlehem. Would things be different? From the moment Gabriel visited me 9 months ago, little in my life has gone as expected.
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I Voted Today
Yes, even though it’s a week and a half before official election day, I voted today. Illinois has early voting. Surely you know our motto in Illinois, “Vote early and vote often!” (That’s a joke for my literal readers.)
I consider it a God-given responsibility to vote. There aren’t any verses in the Bible about voting but there is one that I think applies. Jesus was once asked if it were lawful to pay taxes. Those who asked were trying to trick Him into saying something they could hold against Him. His wise answer about taxes applies to voting. He held up a Roman coin with Caesar’s image on it and said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” Matthew 22:21. Voting in any country is part of the human government’s way of doing things. Human governments are set up by God and entrusted with authority Romans 13:1. Yes, God is in control, even if you think He’s doing a lousy job. Although the government doesn’t demand we vote, it wants us to and that is how decisions are made. I think Jesus would have voted, just like He paid taxes.
My Surprise When I Voted
Like most people I’m ready for the election to be over. So I was really surprised when I went to vote. I expected way more choices than I found on the ballot. I’m somewhat of a political junkie, following the news regularly on websites and social media. I’ve remained fairly current on all of the issues of the presidential campaign. So I thought I would have more choices than I did. For example, I thought this choice would be there:
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