Sargent Joe Friday

Years have past since the TV show Dragnet was a favorite choice in the nightly line-up. Many who read the title might have no clue as to the contents. But for those of you "baby boomers" out there who are in my same age range, when you read the name you could here the distinctive baritone voice say, "Just the facts, mam, that's all we need, just the facts."

I returned from Mexico safe and sound with no incidents, save for a fee at the airport on our luggage. Both Vicki and I were concerned the amount of coffee we were bringing in to the USA (not enough to open a java house but could be construed as intentions to distribute!) would be confiscated in customs. Thankfully, no problemo.

During our time in Chiapas, we ministered to over 500 children and adults in the San Cristobal area and surrounding villages. We also conducted a training of lay leaders on our last day to equip them in techniques for childrens' ministry. A good time was had by all, the Kingdom advanced and the Name above all names was glorified.

As I was unpacking and getting through mail, emails, and laundry, three breaking news story interrupted regular programming. Interesting news day indeed. Throughout the day, I kept an eye on the stories (a reported child abduction, a gunman entering a medical facility and a suspicious package found near the Superbowl stadium). I also heard the State Department has issued another warning for all Americans not to travel to Mexico due to the drug cartel violence.

These are the facts:

30,000 murders since the military offensive against the drug cartels began in 2006 (Six times as many deaths of our soldiers fighting a declared war in Iraq and Afghanistan)

15 decapitated bodies found in Acapulco the week before we arrived in Chiapas. 13 more bodies were found around the city

Nancy Davis, a missionary to Mexico was fatally shot in the head the day we left (January 26)

"For God so loved the WORLD HE GAVE His only begotten Son, that whosoever, believeth in Him shall have everlasting life." John 3:16

That is the truth. The Word of God declares "the Truth will set us free!"

Many people were disturbed (and prayerful I hope) when I "broke the news" of my mission to Mexico; knowing many of the "facts" indeed made me very prayerful as well. But knowing the "Truth," sent me on my way without reservations or fear.

Just a day after my return a devotional came across my "virtual" desk (through email). It was timely and affirming.

"When such situations hit us and we allow the facts to settle in our hearts, we end up feeling greatly troubled. But when we let the truths of God's Word settle them all, we will sense the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the truths that we are believing. He is the Spirit of truth. (John 16:13) He is not the Spirit of facts and does not bear witness to facts...

What is the difference between fact and truth? Facts change, but truth — God's Word — remains! When God's people choose to defy the facts and walk instead in His truths regarding their situations, the Holy Spirit in them will bear witness to the truths that they are believing...

The next time you are hit by disturbing facts, let God's Word settle the truth about your situation. And as the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truths that you are believing, the facts will change and you will receive your miracle!"

Here is the miracle I pray for, that the people we ministered to just south of our border will be protected by the love of the Father. That those same people will come to understand the freedom offered through salvation in Christ. My prayer is the hundreds of young children will grow into strong Christian men and women and be in positions of power to influence their nation and stop the terrorizing of innocent people across their land. I pray also for the Christian men and women who are working the fields. They do not face the same circumstances our brothers and sisters are facing in Africa, India and China, but they are facing overwhelming "facts" about their country's stability and the pervasive violence that seems random. And I pray that I will know better how to serve my Mexican neighbors, in circumtances that seem futile for even an American "intervention" into the situation. I know these are all facts too big for me to understand or affect, but it is not too big for my God.

That is the TRUTH!

Vaya con Dios

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in TRUTH." 1 John 3:17-18

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