Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Have You Been Doing?

Last month our church had to work though the tragedy of the loss of an infant member of a church family.  As Margaret and I sat at the funeral service, looking at the earthly remains of that tiny, precious infant girl, listening to the grieving mother weep uncontrollably...tears filled our own eyes.  In my mind were the age-old questions: "God, why do we have to suffer such grief?  It's not fair.  Please, return quickly and make things right again!"

Instantly in my spirit God reminded me of two Scriptures.  The first was 2 Peter 3:9:

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (NKJV)

Death was not part of God's original design. He is "not willing that any should perish".

The second Scripture was Matthew 24:14:

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."

And with this Scripture I sensed God's gentle question to me, "What have you been doing to hasten my return?"

Have I been doing my very best to spread the gospel?  Have I been witnessing to all whom God has brought into my path for that purpose?  Have I done my part so that "the end will come"?  Is my slackness delaying His return?

I have to confess that I have not been doing my very best.  Lord, I'm sorry.  Holy Spirit, refresh my spiritual boldness (Acts 4:31) as I stir up the gifts you have given me (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

How about you?  Have you been doing your part to hasten His return?  The Pocket Testament League will send you free pocket editions of the Gospel of John that you can give away.  Their website is also loaded with great resources to help you effectively use those booklets to hasten His return.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Musings

I haven't felt much like blogging the past month or so.  Margaret and I were both sick with whatever this sinus/bronchitis stuff is that is making the rounds.  After two trips to the doctor and a second round of antibiotics, I am finally feeling better.  Margaret did not get any prescriptions from the doctor and she got better about a week earlier than I did (and $300 cheaper).  Go figure!  Praise the Lord we are both better now and getting back to normal activities (as normal as we get).

Margaret and I have decided to get more serious about our health.  We are eating healthier - almost no deserts (except chocolate, of course, that is one of the basic food groups).  Since last November I have lost 16 pounds and Margaret has lost 13 pounds.  PTL!  We are also exercising regularly.

Neither one of us get very excited about getting out and walking in bad weather.  We do some walking at the big mall in Dover, DE when we are home.  Since we aren't home that much, mall walking wasn't doing us much good.  I searched the web for a portable exercise machine that we could use both at home and at the chapel and that would be easy to transport back and forth.  Some portable machines are mostly plastic and the reviews of them were not good for folks our size.  The machine also needed to be small because we have a very limited space in the chapel living quarters.  And of course, it had to be economical enough to buy on a missionary's budget.

We settled on an InMotion E1000 from Stamina.  It has a steel frame but is only 24 pounds and very compact.  It now goes back and forth with us between home and the chapel.

In Motion 1

Margaret exercising at the chapel.  We use her old walker for stability.
Because the walker folds up and is very light weight it works great for this.

In Motion 2

In Motion 2

I could barely manage 50 steps on it when we first got it.  We both lost some ground while we were sick.  Now I'm able to do around 300 steps at a time twice a day.  That is a long way from where I need to be but at least I'm headed in the right direction.
Margaret can do about 150 steps per session and a daily total of 500 to 600 steps.

We have also been introduced to the books of Dr. Batmanghelidj.  Marty Miller, an Elkton Volunteer Chaplain, has an amazing personal testimony about how the Lord used the teachings of Dr. "Batman" to bring about an amazing change in his life - from a back injury 10 years ago that was to have resulted in chronic pain and disability to now being a marathon runner.  You have to meet Marty and have him share the details!

Anyway, after talking to Marty and reading a couple of Dr. Batman's books, we are now drinking a lot more water - up to a gallon a day for me.  We have cut out all caffeine drinks and the use of artificial sweetener. It is amazing how much damage can be caused by caffeine in our system.  (Chocolate doesn't have that much caffeine in it, does it?)

The past few weeks have been especially busy for us.  As of last Saturday, we had been in Elkton for ministry 16 of the past 19 days. - the result of a combination of the sudden death of a truck stop employee and volunteer chaplains needing time off.  On the plus side of that we were able to provide much needed pastoral care and ministry to employees and chapel visitors.

A very big praise report: Volunteer Chaplain Allan Graham led two drivers to the Lord in recent weeks.  PTL!

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins