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”

Alone, together

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. . . . But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one must bear his own load” (Galatians 6:2,4-5 NKJV).

Brenda cooks our meals at Khulna Bible College in a tiny kitchen over a two burner gas cook top. When she cooks omelets or pancakes for our breakfasts, she cannot do one serving at a time. Continue reading “Alone, together”

Good in unexpected places

“And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving” (Luke 7:2-4).

The title of this article could easily serve as the theme, or at least one of the themes, of the Gospel according to Luke. The stories of the good Samaritan (chapter 10), Zacchaeus (19), Lazarus the beggar, and others are about people normally despised by the supposedly righteous Jews, but shown in the third gospel with good qualities. Continue reading “Good in unexpected places”

Encouragement

“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 NKJV).

When Moses, the Man of God, died at the end of Israel’s wilderness travel, the young man Joshua was elevated to the leadership of the nation. At the time of his appointment he was told to “be strong and of good courage” by three different beings: first by Moses who appointed him (Deuteronomy 31:7), then by God himself (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9), and finally by the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh (Joshua 1:18). Continue reading “Encouragement”

Upgraded!

“But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:10-11 NKJV).

When I handed in my boarding pass to go onto the airplane in Doha, Qatar, on my most recent flight, I was told to wait a moment. The agent went to the counter, exchanged my economy pass for a business class seat and returned to give it to me. Continue reading “Upgraded!”

Nowhere 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).

I set out to direct our group to a favorite place in Dhaka. We had a new driver, and most of the Banglas with whom I was traveling had not been in Dhaka very much. Therefore I, the foreigner, turned out to be the one who knew the route, or at least that is what we thought. Continue reading “Nowhere to turn around”

The accepted time

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the time of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Most Americans who travel to “far places” experience various types of culture shock. One of the most common and severe is that related to a different perception of time. We tend to be clock and calendar oriented. One hour means 60 minutes. An appointment for 4:00 p.m. is expected to commence at that point in time or in very close proximity to it. Other peoples in the world simply do not work to the same kind of schedule. Continue reading “The accepted time”