Thursday, May 23, 2013

Take No Thought

"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put on." Matthew 6:25 KJV

I'm looking at my propped open suitcase and wondering how in the world I am going to get all my "necessary" items to fit inside. Before I finish packing for my next trip, I set my heart before the Lord, and in His way, He answered me. My devotional reading was Matthew 6:26, "take no thought...". Here I had been taking ALL these thoughts into consideration: how much bug spray, how much aspirin to help my aching bones, how many snacks, how much, how many, how in the WORLD am I going to get through the next ten days camping in a Mexican jungle?!

"Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God."*

I figure I will have an opportunity to see lots of birds in the air! Perhaps I'll even see tropical parrots, along with ten thousand mosquitoes, snakes, lizards, and crawling inconveniences of a wide variety. Even as I write this my heartbeat elevates, my breathing becomes shallow in anticipation of the higher altitude, and I feel far from careless (except maybe in my decision to go).

"...don't you think He'll attend to you, take pride in you, do His best for you?"*

In the comfort of my air-conditioned apartment, where I work up a sweat just putting things inside the suitcase, I confess, worry has clouded my heart. And yet, on this day, He is reminding me, HE attends to my needs, He's proud of me, HE will do His best for me!

"What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving."*

After reading the King James translation of the passage, I checked the verse translated into modern English offered by Eugene Peterson in The Message. I relaxed. That is how it reads, Jesus Himself (words in red) saying, "relax, respond to God's giving!"

God, is GIVING us (which includes the reader) the opportunity to go into the dark recesses of a Mexican jungle to share the Truth of His love of the world through Christ, His only begotten Son. Over the next twelve days.

He is GIVING us a chance to exhibit His mercy, by providing free medical assessment and treatment to jungle villagers who, in many cases have never seen a doctor. He is GIVING us children who come with parents, siblings and friends, to shower His love on through games, crafts, and stories.

He is GIVING us the darkness of night where we can show a gospel message film on a screen hung between palm trees.

He is GIVING us these days to impact lives for eternity!

"People who don't know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works."*

We know He is good. We know He is alive, and we know how much He cares for us because of the gift of His Son's life as a ransom for many.

"Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out."*

The God-reality, in spite of news reports, economy upturns and down-turns, tornados and terrorists, IS our King is on the throne and in control. He is not slow in coming but that NO ONE should perish without understanding His love.

The God-iniative is working in the hearts, bodies, and minds of a rural people in the middle of remote region in Mexico to come and see what these "strangers" are doing here. His initiative moved me to accept the invitation to join a medical mission team sponsored by East West Ministries.

The God-provision will take care of the bugs, my back, my stomach and getting the necessary into my suitcase. His provision is experienced through your prayers and financial support.

If I do fail to remember to pack something, I still don't need to worry because HE is my provider and protector.

"You'll find ALL your everyday human concerns will be met."*

These are my "human concerns" where I ask for prayers:

For our luggage and supplies to make it all the way to Tuxla-Guitierraz
For health and stamina in high altitude and food source
For communication with the locals through translators
For the medical staff to have supernatural discernment on treatment and provision for all needs
For the children and our "program" that we are not sure how it will "work" during the daily clinic
For the nightly showing of the Jesus Film to impact the community
For Sergio and Beth Mattasa our team leaders to have all the necessary preparations and precautions taken care of
For travel into the jungle, safety on the roads
For the binding of the enemy and his minions who will definitely be agitated and activated by our presence in their territory

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow."*

Let's focus on what He promises, that many will come to know His Son, through our participation in this opportunity.

"God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."*

The time has come for me to finish packing and zip the "suitcase" of my worries and anxious heart. He is faithful so we CAN be careless in His care..

And in His service

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*Matthew 6:26-34 The Message

Friday, May 03, 2013


"Everything inside each packet of GU is engineered to do one simple thing: provide your body with the essential requirements it needs to keep going for miles and miles and hours and hours."*

Last year, when my oldest son was training to compete in an IronMan triathalon (2.4 mile swim - 112 mile bike ride - 26.2 mile marathon RUN) I learned endurance athletes use a scientifically formed substance called GU. There is only one thing it is designed for - sustained energy. They have multiple flavors to choose from: blueberry, chocolate, banana cream pie and exotic others. But no matter what flavor they may add, it still looks and tastes like a melted weird Gummy Bear, it is "goo" with the emphasis on "ooooo."

But make no mistake - it does its job. It keeps them going. For the average non-professional athlete the full IronMan competition takes between 13 and 15 HOURS to cross the Finish Line! During the race they are not taking a lunch or dinner break. They are burning, on average, 11,000 calories, and during the course of the event they lose (in ONE DAY) 5-7 pounds. They are not stopping to order a Whopper and fries.

The athletes are carrying little packets of pure energy, easily slammed back and digested. The surge of scientifically designed caffeine and sugar enters the bloodstream and they make the next mile, or two or 26.3!

Last July, when it came time for the IronMan race in Coeur d' Alene, my youngest son and I traveled to Idaho, to hold signs of encouragement, cheer and give support to his older brother. After 15 hours of watching on the sidelines he was determined to complete his own IronMan, and has been in training ever since.

His older brother has offered him seasoned advice. But at our weekly family dinner, two things I hear him consistently repeat:

"trust your training"


"train with nutrition."

And you know what that means -




While those deliciously sounding flavors might trick your mind into swallowing that melted-weird-slime, bottom line - if you haven't "trained" WITH the nourishment, when the GU gets to your stomach it - it can't handle it - the consistency GAGS you. When you're swimming, biking, and running, burning thousands and thousands of calories you NEED nourishment. Whatever form it comes in, if you don't train your mind to empty that little packet of energy down your throat, and drink enough fluid, you'll dehydrate, your muscles will cramp up, your internal organs can start shutting down and you will not finish the race.

"You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally.". 1 Corinthians 9:25 The Message

During the season I haven't been on the road, I've been busy "training." The Wounded Warrior Weekend (sponsored by Joni and Friends) truly is a spiritual marathon of emotion, engagement with pain and suffering, and dressing wounds of the broken-hearted.

But the blessed thing about spiritual training is it only requires disciple - no GU. The discipline of prayer, daily reading the Word, fellowship with like-minded "athletes" who compete in the marathon to save souls and make an eternal difference in the lives of others.

It goes down easy, and it goes to work fast so you don't have to slow down.*"

While my youngest son and I were making the drive down to San Antonio, I shared, "This is my IronMan competition." There is a "tri-athalon" of ministry - "bringing joy, engaging those crushed in spirit, and binding up the broken-hearted with Godly friendship, love and intercession. After finishing a half-Ironman (70.3 miles: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 run) last month in Galveston, I could feel his "yeah right mom!"

We arrived, set up the "Imagination Station", the "Craft-a-Palooza" area and began the volunteer training. It can be overwhelming to the first-timer. There is a tremendous amount of terminology (DOD, BAMC, SAMMC, WFSC and the acronyms go on). During training he felt a sense of anxiety as the Army Chaplain and Veterans Administration representative presented information ranging from statistics to medical complications. What was designed to bring a sense of comfort failed to work for him. He shared last night, before they arrived, he got a little freaked out. He said, "I half expected them to arrive on stretchers! But when they got here, I saw they're just people."

(Some of them just might be missing a few parts...)

Thank you for being OUR cheering section. If you ask an endurance athlete, they can tell you the importance of those on the sidelines. People shouting, "you can make it, hang in there, run like you stole something!"

YOUR prayers, your posts on Facebook, your emails of support ARE a lifeline to the ministry of this "marathoner." We ARE stealing back hearts and souls the enemy had in his grip.

I have trained well. And together, we will cross the finish line!

"THIS is the only race worth running. I've run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that's left now is the shouting..." 2 Timothy 4:7 The Message

Slamming back my spiritual GU
Trusting my training
and you can be sure I'm smiling!

*Official website of GU Energy Gel

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