Familiar faces

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid'” (Matthew 14:27 NKJV).

On one of my first trips to Nepal I missed a flight and arrived at a different time from that for which I was scheduled. After waiting alone at the airport exit for some time, I finally recognized the local preacher whom I had met only once before. Though I fully expected to be met by someone, it was still a great relief to see him and know I was not forgotten.

Can you imagine the fear of the twelve disciples of Jesus as they fought the strong winds and waves of the Sea of Galilee? It was dark. They were alone, without their master and teacher, Jesus. Some of them at least were professional fishermen who knew all too well the hazards of their position. Continue reading “Familiar faces”

“Gathering up the fragments”

“So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.’ Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten” (John 6:12-13 NKJV).

In Bangladesh when tables are set for meals, there are usually extra plates set out (about one for each 2-4 people). When I first began traveling there that puzzled me, but as we ate, their purpose became plain. Those were the “bone plates” onto which each diner would discard any bones, gristle or other inedible residue of his or her food. Continue reading ““Gathering up the fragments””

Room to turn around

“Lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17 NKJV).

While looking for a place to eat lunch in Dhaka we found ourselves on a divided boulevard with concrete barriers separating the north and southbound lanes. When we reached the restaurant we had chosen we could not turn in because there was no break in the barriers. We had to drive a considerable distance past it, then turn and come back. Since we had already driven more than six hours to get to Dhaka, then another hour plus of city traffic jams, we were not pleased at the extra time and distance. Continue reading “Room to turn around”

Synchronizing spirits

For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” (1 Corinthians 2:11).

As Brenda and I traveled to Florida recently we began discussing things we would need to do soon after returning home. We found ourselves beginning a sentence, then having the other person answer it before the first speaker had even named the primary object or subject which was under discussion. After three or four exchanges we broke out laughing, amused that we were so much in tune with the other that we could immediately complete each other’s thoughts, even when they represented a total change of subjects. I guess that is one benefit to having celebrated a golden anniversary.

On reflection however, we agreed that this is about more than lengthy marriages. Continue reading “Synchronizing spirits”

What babies can know

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight'” (Luke 10:21 NKJV).

It can sometimes be discouraging to work diligently to proclaim the gospel with little apparent immediate results. Often what results there are may seem to be among the poor and uneducated, or even among the so-called outcasts of society. Paul described the majority of Christians as consisting of “Not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” (1 Corinthians 1:26). He went on to state, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). Continue reading “What babies can know”

The cure for hatred

“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:3 NKJV).

The feuding mentality is alien to some, but seems to come naturally to many. What enables certain families, clans, or ethnicities to pass on hatred and enmity through multiple generations? From the warring tribes of Africa, the feuding families of Appalachia, and the clans of the Scottish Highlands, some ancient grudges have lasted for hundreds and even thousands of years. And some seem to be just as intense and fierce as they have ever been. Continue reading “The cure for hatred”

Good roads

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth” (Isaiah 40:3-4 NJKV).

In the twenty-five years that I have traveled in Asia I have noticed two major areas of development that have affected me personally – communications and transportation. In the early years I might call my family in the U.S. one or two times in a month’s absence; now via inexpensive mobile phones, internet, and Skype we are in contact almost every day. When I first began visiting Bangladesh, the trip from Dhaka to Khulna required more than ten hours and involved at least six ferry crossings. Now the ferries are down to one and my last journey was barely more than six hours long. What a great blessing good roads and bridges are! Continue reading “Good roads”

Runts

“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things” (Romans 14:1 NKJV).

Some years ago we planted a row of Royal Palm trees on the Bible College campus in Bangladesh. They have grown and are now quite tall, stately, and very beautiful. Well, most of them are. There is one, on the far end next to the outer wall, which has grown comparatively little and is still small and weak looking. All were the same size at planting, all put into the same soil and treated identically. Yet one is much smaller than the others. Continue reading “Runts”

Divided loyalties

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24 NKJV).

We recently had a small local tournament in a table game called “carom” that is hugely popular in this part of Asia. There were twelve teams, and to ensure an even number we allowed the young son of one of the staff members to participate. Of course the father and son wound up on different teams (they were chosen by random drawing) and, as you would know it, the very first match of the tournament pitted father’s team against son’s. Continue reading “Divided loyalties”

In the eye of the beholder

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12 NKJV).

When I walked out on the campus early one morning before devotional, one of the teachers, Arther, was out by the main gate. When I joined him he greeted me with, “It is a beautiful morning.” We walked back together to the building where the devotional was to be, and there Siroj, a student, said, “The weather is bad today.”

On the same day, in the same place, within two or three minutes, two people expressed exact opposite opinions of the same phenomenon. How can that be? Continue reading “In the eye of the beholder”