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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Friday, March 29, 2013

MAN OVERBOARD!

My husband and I knew the crew of the ship would have a disaster drill today, but we were a bit startled to hear someone shout over the intercom . . ."man overboard". That could be a reason to panic.
      After a few days in Santiago, Chili, we spent two days in Lima, Peru, home to nine million people. There are many cars and streets are congested making it difficult to get around. We were told it never rains in Lima. That would be the reason everything looks dusty and in need of a good washing down. It appeared to us that  the majority of the people here live very poorly. However, we shouldn't think that poor always means unhappy.
      The Bible speaks of the poor. Just as there have always been blind and deaf people, there have always been those who are considered poor within their society. Jesus was in a home in Bethany when a woman used some very expensive oil to anoint Him. There was a minor uproar as the disciples thought this was wasteful, the money could have been spent on the poor. Jesus responded to His disciples. . .

"The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for the burial." Matthew 26:11-12.

      Jesus was telling them that He was going to die soon. The disciples didn't completely understand that. Neither did they fully comprehend that He would be raised to new life and would walk among them for forty days before He left to sit on the right hand of God the Father. Over five hundred saw the risen Jesus. You can read about it in I Corinthians, chapter 15.

      We are encouraged in Scripture to help the poor. There are so many. Christians understand that the riches of this world are nothing compared to the riches God has in store for those who love Him. As Easter Sunday approaches we remember the reason Jesus, God in the flesh, hung on a cross to die and then rise again, so we can have eternal life free from all pain and suffering. And, while here on this earth, we are to help when and where we can. We can trust God to show us the opportunities we have to do this.
      The Catholic Church has a new leader, Pope Francis, from Argentina. South Americans, the majority of whom are Catholic, are delighted to have a Spanish speaking Pope. Our tour guide in Lima explained that even though 80% of her country are Catholics, many still practice religious rituals learned from their ancestors. I believe it's their Inca Indian heritage that teaches them to worship nature as all Indian cultures seem to, specifically, Mother Nature. It is she they believe who makes the ground fertile, and the waters of the earth abundant with fish.
      I can't help but think how much our human nature pulls us all back to what we've learned as a child, whether good or bad. I recently heard someone say that he'd spanked his three year old grandson because he wouldn't sit still and be quiet during a church service. His reason for doing this? "That's the way I was raised". I wanted to say, "That doesn't make it right", but I kept quiet. Most of us learned that "If you are good, you'll go to heaven." The first question we may ask is, "How good?" or "Whose definition of "good" do we use?"
      I think you can see the problem, but when the Lord reveals Himself to us, we come to understand, that on our own, we can never be good enough to enter heaven. It is God who does a complete work in us, leaving nothing left to do but praise His Holy Name. We are now righteous before Him.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son. . .those he predestined, he also called, justified and glorified. . .Romans 8:29 - 30.

      Isn't it a blessing to know that Jesus is able to do for us what we can't do for our self? He will present us before God's glorious presence without fault and with great joy!  Jude 24
      During the course of our trip, we traveled close to 6,000 nautical miles, and saw quite a bit of South America.The weather became warmer and more humid as we sailed north, but not unpleasant in the lest. 
      We arrived in Manta, Ecuador early one morning. As we pulled into port we enjoyed watching the tiny, but mighty, tugboats help maneuver our very large ship. We wrote a Haiku (Japanese style poem) as we witnessed the process one day.

The little tugboat
works hard to move bigger boats
each needs the other

      Each needs the other, same is true of us, we need one another.  In Manta, we were amazed by the huge, beautiful grocery and drug stores in this small town. We met a very nice man in the grocery store who has lived in the United States. He asked many questions about the cruise, and we asked him to direct us to the banos. We spent some time at a nice artisans market by the ocean. It was here we discovered that the famous Panama Hat is not made in Panama, but in Ecuador. We bought one for our son-in-law. We are impressed by the honesty and friendliness of the people.
      The days at sea were relaxing. We thread our way past sun-baked passengers to find the perfect spot to read and write.
      When we arrived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica we board a small train and ride through the countryside filled with mango groves.
Orange and yellow melons lie in fields adding a fragrance to the air. We tasted the best watermelon we've ever had here in Costa Rica. Next stop, Nicaragua. We arranged to go on an excursion to the family-owned Amayo Hacienda placed on the shore of Lake Nicaragua. From this property, we have a grand view of the twin volcanoes, Maderas and Concepcion, which rise majestically out of the lake. What a beautiful sight. 
      One evening we watched the movie The Life of Pi on the deck of the ship. This is truly an amazing story of survival and God's provision. And, wherever we go, we find the Lord's sheep.
      Somehow I managed to miss all but one of the Bible studies on board. It's a joy to meet other believers who live in different parts of the world.
      Our last stop was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We were there in 2005 and were astonished to see the growth that had occurred since then. At one time, this was a sleepy little fishing village.
      Now, it's back to the real world - shopping, cooking, cleaning - just ordinary stuff. There are days when we want to shout, "Man overboard!" Something happens and we feel a sense of panic. This is when we most appreciate knowing God personally and feeling His presence and involvement in everyday life. Our little boats can capsize so quickly. Jesus leads us from panic to peace. . .and this is a good way to live, like being on a vacation every day!

Lord I thank you for allowing us to experience South America. What a beautiful world You have created. Our greatest wish is to honor and glorify You, no matter where we are.