On Christmas day we visited with some missionaries who had what I could only describe as a covered bicycle with seats for 4. There were two sets of pedals, and of course it looked like loads of fun, so my entire family plus Oberline jumped on board.
I felt like Fred Flintstone.
As we were moseying along, the little girls were sitting up front saying, "pedal a little faster please, we are enjoying the wind in our hair", while the boys were sweating like crazy in the back, huffing and puffing to keep the wheels turning.
I began to weary very quickly (especially after a Christmas meal), and thought the task was becoming insurmountable, when I looked over and realized my son had stopped pedaling and was coasting.
All it took was one look from me and a teeth gritting "Boy!" and he snapped back into motion. Immediately I felt the relief of his efforts on my tired old muscles.
The next morning, God vividly reminded of that painted illustration when we read these words from Paul:
"I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf."
Immediately I made the connection, and I realized what happens when we stop doing, and simply don't. When we stop the work of praying for one another, laboring for one another, and loving one another, and begin to coast through life, all we really do is make it harder on each other.
How easy to forget,
Paul, at the end of Romans, takes a reprieve from his teaching to send his greetings, and what captivated us today was the truth that, hidden within his simple salutations, was the perfect evidence of a sincere love.
"Greet the ladies who worked so hard, the guys who went to prison with me, the folks who risked their lives for me"...in other words, "give my best to the people who did life with me and gave it their all, the people who loved me, the people I love."
That level of commitment only comes from one brand name, It's custom fit. It's Jesus Christ.
Isn't that what it's all about?
We're not meant to coast, Christians. We aren't just here to feel the wind in our hair.
We're meant to labor together. To do life, all in.
Won't the fruit of that blood, sweat, and tears be ever so sweet, as opposed to witnessing such blessing and having to yield that you did not partake? Some of us may not taste it until we rest on the other side. Some of us will be blessed and filled with the sugar of encouragement to catch a glimpse while our hearts yet beat.
Don't you just have a burning desire to squash the grapes together? Maybe you'll get your feet a little stained, but they'll sure smell good. Together, I know, it will be more fun.
Here's where my family is, today in Haiti, on the brink of '13:
There is the possibility of God using ethanol to open up the farming industry in Haiti again by restarting the sugar mills.
This would be an amazing thing to witness. Haiti is in great need of infrastructure, and more importantly, jobs, so this could be a way to revitalize the culture and help to bring them up from the poverty that chokes. I'm convinced that this will happen regardless, as soon as the country turns back to God. It's interesting to see where God might be taking us.
We're about to have a meeting with a ministry called Life Literature, on January 8th. I worked with them last year in buying the Bibles as a subsidized cost, and since we are the furthest South they've pushed into Haiti, they are thinking of using our home as a satellite hub of sorts, to bring literature (Bibles and study materials) to this area. There will be dozens of Pastors coming to visit, so please pray for God to show us clearly if this is a good step.
On more personal levels, we've started a small aquaponics project at our house with about 400 fish, and in another month or so we'll have vegetables. I'm turning our yard into a mini-farm.
We are dealing at the present with alot of voodoo in our area, and since we've just moved to the new village, some have made it clear they don't want us here. This is of course only during the night, and in the daytime everyone seems to be a friend. We could use your prayers in that regard, for patience and love, on their part and mine. This Sunday I'm taking alot of their kids to church with us.
Today after we had a great meal of spaghetti, I walked out my back door to 3 of those little ones, none over the age of 5. They were knocking raw mangos out of the tree. They were not yet ripe but in their minds, it was close enough. Their mother and step-father were laying on the ground, weak with headaches from malnutrition. The kids were fending for themselves for something, anything to make their bellies hurt less. I know the answer in Haiti is not to just give food. I know the answer is to give them Christ, to give them a hand up, not a hand out. I know I can't feed all of my village, nor should I. The whites come. The whites go. They can't come to depend on me...
I also know that I will be judged for doing nothing, when I could have done something.
We don't know what to do, and we could use your prayers. We are looking for solutions to problems much greater than us. Could you join with us in prayer on these things?
Where are you? What are your needs? If there's anything you need prayer for, please don't hesitate to write it down in the comments. Let's do life together.
I hope there can be fruit, at the very greatest, in prayer, striving together.